The Lives of Others
I recently saw The Lives of Others and was thoroughly impressed with this film. After having seen the amazing Pan’s Labyrinth, I was stunned that another movie could win the Oscar for best foreign film of 2006 (one of the rare categories in the Oscars where worthy films actually win). But after finally seeing it, I now know why. It’s a spectacular film.
The movie takes place in East Germany a few years before the wall fell, and it involves a Stasi captain (Gerd Wiesler) who is tasked with wiretapping the home of a popular playwright (Georg Dreyman). The tapping is at the behest of a corrupt party member, who has an obsession with the playwright’s girlfriend (Crista Maria Sieland), an actress in his plays. As Wiesler eavesdrops, he becomes increasingly involved in the lives of Dreyman and Sieland. The movie deftly captures the invasiveness of wiretapping. Its depiction of life in a totalitarian society is as bone-chilling as anything Orwell could imagine. And its interrogation scenes are harrowing — though the truly frightening thing is that the interrogation techniques don’t seem much different from those authorized by the Bush Administration.
I strongly recommend this great film.