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Das Leben der Anderen(German Language) [DVD] 
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The Lives of Others (German: Das Leben der Anderen) is a 2006 German drama film. The Lives of Others won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film had earlier won seven Deutscher Filmpreis awards-including those for best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor, and best supporting actor-after setting a new record with 11 nominations.
Released 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall marking the end of the East German socialist state, it was the first noticeable drama film about the subject after a series of comedies such as Goodbye, Lenin! and Sonnenallee. This approach was widely applauded in Germany, though some raised doubts[weasel words] that a real Stasi officer might ever have undergone the transformation of the film's main character towards a person, caring for the fate of potential dissidents, and even protecting them. Many former East Germans were stunned by the factual accuracy of the film's set and atmosphere, resembling a state which had merged with West Germany and subsequently vanished 16 years prior to the release.
In the former East Germany, no-one was above suspicion. Like George Orwell's vision of the future come to life, art and people and relationships were monitored obsessively; The Lives Of Others captures not only the paranoia and danger inherent in such a world, but also expresses hope that even in the most desperate situations, people can make a difference.
The story of The Lives Of Others unfolds mostly through the eyes of a secret service agent who's been given the task of spying on an artistic couple who've attracted the attention of the Minister of Culture. Little by little, he's drawn into their lives even as we're drawn into his; and as he loses his faith in the government, he must decide whether or not to try to hide the transgressions of those he's watching. As the physical danger and emotional cost mounts, it's impossible not to become utterly engrossed; intelligent and well-written, The Lives Of Others is also deeply moving.
It's rare to find a film that really deserves its rave reviews, and considering The Lives Of Others won a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, it's got a lot to live up to. Happily, it's more than just up to scratch--it's absolutely brilliant. --Sarah Dobbs --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) is a playwright who has made his accommodations with the regime, has won awards and has learned not to go too far. The mere fact that he is seen as reliable makes him a subject of Stasi interest. That, and because his lover, the actress Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), is coveted by a powerful official who wants Dreyman ruined. Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe), a dedicated, colorless Stasi officer, noted for his reliability and interrogation skills, is assigned the job of monitoring Dreyman. This means installing bugs in Dreyman's apartment where Dreyman lives with Sieland, setting up 24 hour monitoring, recording everything and preparing reports. Wiesler takes his share of listening in. Weisler seems to have no purpose but his dedication to the ideals of the East German system, but even he can see the corruption of those ideals.Read more ›
The acting is amazing and if the Oscars had any credibility then Ulrich Muhe would have been nominated in the best actor category. His character starts off as cold and not very likeable, however, we gradually warm to him and by the end my opinion of him had changed utterly. I've only learned upon reading this page that Muhe died shortly after completing this film. It really is a fitting tribute.
It's one of the few films that has moved me to tears by the end and it wasn't achieved by cheap sentimentality but a genuinely moving story and fantastic performances all round.
The story is set in East Germany in 1984, when the lack of freedom and the zeal of the Secret Police (Stasi) were pervasive. Captain Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) is an agent that specializes in discovering "traitors", that is, those that don't agree with everything that the government says. Wiesler is very good at his job, and has no mercy for those that don't add up to his ideal of what a good socialist should be.
That is probably the reason why his superior assigns him the task of of spying on Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), a well-known socialist playwright that is nonetheless suspicious, due to his friends. Dreyman lives with his girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), a talented actress that loves him but has sexual trysts with a powerful government official that promises her that she will never be in the black list of artist that cannot work.
As Wiesler learns more about the couple, thanks to the hidden microphones his team installed in their apartment, he starts warming towards them. He even protects them when Dreyman becomes actively involved in "subversive" activities, as a reaction to the suicide of a friend that had been blacklisted. But how far will Wiesler risk himself? And can human beings really change?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant movie, a little window into the soul of the StasiPublished 1 month ago by Mr A S Thatcher
Excellent film which I stumbled upon by chance. Would recommendPublished 3 months ago by jeanjeanie
This was a German film with English subtitles, which I hadn't expected, and I nearly didn't watch it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by R. A. Johnston
A chillingly realistic portrayal of the Ministerium fur Staatsicher. Non German speakers shouldn't let the sub-titles put them off. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Brand
Enjoyed this film immensely. Subtitles did not interfere. Well acted. Would thoroughly recommend. Prompt delivery.Published 3 months ago by Tony