Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Lives of Others

Our latest movie rental is the 2007 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film, The Lives of Others. The story begins in 1984, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. During this period, the Stasi, GDR's secret police, closely monitored the cultural scene, repressing all dissent.

Capt. Gerd Wiesler is a dedicated Stasi agent who has been ordered to spy on playwright Georg Dreyman. However, during his surveillance sessions, Wiesler discovers the truth about why he is spying on Dreyman: Minister Hempf is attempting to blackmail Dreyman's girlfriend, actress Christa-Maria Sieland, into sleeping with him. This knowledge destroys Wiesler's motivation to find out anything about Dreyman. Furthermore, Wiesler becomes increasingly sympathetic with Sieland and disillusioned with his party. Dreyman does not learn until sometime after the fall of the Berlin Wall how much Wiesler did for him. It's a touching story that comes out of a grim and scary time.

It is too bad that a lot of people in this country do not rent foreign films because they object to "reading" a movie. I honestly forgot that I was reading subtitles. This film is engrossing and the dialog is realistic, intelligent, and not hard to follow. It is also an important topic, as this kind of repression can happen anywhere at anytime a government agency decides to monitor the lives of others.

Obviously, I recommend this film!

Martina Gedeck~ Christa-Maria Sieland
Ulrich Muehe ~Capt Gerd Wiesler
Sebastian Koch~ Georg Dreyman
Ulrich Tukur Lt~Col Anton Grubitz
Thomas Thieme ~Minister Bruno Hempf
Hans-Uwe Bauer~ Paul Hauser
Herbert Knaup ~Gregor Hessenstein
Volkmar Kleinert~ Albert Jerski
Matthias Brenner ~Karl Wallner
Charly Huebner~ Udo

Director & Screenwriter:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes. That's a great website.


TLP said...

Your dad will love that film. If it has subtitles, he automatically wants to see it. I laugh.

I don't mind reading subtitles, and I know what you mean about forgetting that you are reading. I've had the sensation, at the end of a foreign film, that they were speaking english at the very last of it. That is, if the subtitles are good sometimes they are not. For example, there will be a long, long piece of dialogue, and the subtitle will be, "Yes."

Minka said...

That is a definite must-see for me. It hasn't come out yet here in Iceland. I did grow up in that regime...only 12 years of my childhood though, and I never got to feel the repression of original thought as much. I did see a boy thrown out of school becuase he repeated soemthign his parents said and apparently it was not a good thing to announce.
Weird, at the time I find my childhood in the GDR a most wonderful piece of history, but than I guess most people feel nostalgic about their childhood.
Good recommodation.

In Iceland notehring is doubted, we create about two films each year...with thes rest of teh films and even television at either understand English, Italina, German....or you read the Icelandic sub titles :)

It does wonders for your reading speed!

actonbell said...

Thanks, Minka:) I thought it would be interesting for you to see, if you hadn't already.