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The Lives of Others
Year:
2006
Country:
Germany
Genre:
Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Martina Gedeck as Christa-Maria Sieland
Ulrich Mühe as Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler
Sebastian Koch as Georg Dreyman
Ulrich Tukur as Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz
Thomas Thieme as Minister Bruno Hempf
Hans-Uwe Bauer as Paul Hauser
Volkmar Kleinert as Albert Jerska
Matthias Brenner as Karl Wallner
Herbert Knaup as Gregor Hessenstein
Bastian Trost as Häftling 227
Marie Gruber as Frau Meineke
Volker Michalowski as Schriftexperte (as Zack Volker Michalowski)
Werner Daehn as Einsatzleiter in Uniform
Storyline: In the early 1980s, Georg Dreyman (a successful dramatist) and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland (a popular actress), were huge intellectual stars in (former) East Germany, although they secretly don't always toe the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x432 px 1853 Mb 1963 Kbps mp4 Download
iPhone 640x270 px 1539 Mb h264 1562 Kbps mp4 Download
Reviews
1984, East Germany - Shield and Sword of the Party know everything
"The Lives of Others", the 2007 very deserving Oscar winner for the Best Foreign Film is IMO, the best film of last year regardless of the country it was made in. It took its writer/director several years first to thoroughly research still very painful events of the recent German history, the ones that deal with infamous and evil STASI (State Secret Police) and how it infiltrated and affected almost every aspect of GDR life. Before the collapse of the Soviet system and its most ominous and infamous symbol, the wall in the end of the 80s, life in East Germany of 1984 had imitated art precisely like in the prophetic and terrifying George Orwell's novel. Each citizen could have and majority were closely monitored by STASI which motto was "Shield and Sword of the Party" and its goal, "To know everything". By the time East Germany collapsed in 1989, STASI employed an estimated 91,000 employees and 300,000 informants; about one in fifty East Germans collaborated with the powerful and Omni-present Secret Police, one of the most extensive infiltrations of a police apparatus in history. The STASI monitored political behavior among GDR citizens, and is known to have used torture and intimidation to mute, corrupt, and destroy dissent. Even those who believed they were above suspicion due to their closeness to the prominent members of the government were not safe. The film explores the lives of those who watched and listened and those on the other side of the wire.

I was shocked to find out that such astounding movie was a directorial debut of 33 years old Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - so artistically impeccable this honest, human, horrifying, harrowing yet hopeful film is. The film makers had recreated successfully and precisely the 1980s with its dark suffocating atmosphere of constant abuse of individual privacy in the former German Democratic republic. The locations, the huge dominating gray apartment buildings of the big city where every wall seems to have the ears and the eyes , the old cars on the streets of East Berlin – everything looks, sounds, and feels authentically . As great as "The Lives of Others is", it would not have been the same without Ulrich Mühe, as Captain Gerd Wiesler, a highly skilled and efficient STASI officer and a loyal member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, who spies on successful playwright and his actress girlfriend by the order of corrupted hypocritical member of the government. While listening to the Lives of Others, Wiesler's own life would change in the way he had never expected.

Once you start watching the movie, you'll see how Ulrich Mühe effortlessly over towers every other performance on the screen, and they are all excellent. The real life of Ulrich Mühe could make a great and compelling movie and the script for "The Lives of Others" was written with him in mind. He was born, grew up, and became a famous actor in the Eastern Germany back in the late 70s of the last century. By the words of von Donnersmarck, STASI began spying on Mühe right after he had graduated from High School because STASI realized that he would be great even before he himself realized that. After German reunification, Mühe discovered evidence in his STASI file that he had been under surveillance not only by four of his fellow actors in the East Berlin theater, but also by his second wife, Jenny Gröllmann. This was denied by Gröllmann who, after an acrimonious and highly-publicized court case, succeeded in obtaining an injunction to prevent Mühe from repeating the allegation in a book. Mühe's response when asked how he prepared for his role in Das Leben der Anderen was simple, "I remembered". Mühe passed away few months ago, in July 2007 due to stomach cancer at the age or 54, and when I read it, I felt emptiness - like a very good close friend has gone forever. His performance in the film "The Lives of Others" will live always as one of the best and most memorable given by any actor of the screen.
2007-09-24
A gripping story, a true gem.
When I first heard about Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film "Das Leben der Anderen" and the issue it dealt with, I instantly tipped it to be one of the must-see films. As a great cinema-goer and a genuine admirer of the European cinematography, I was overwhelmed with a notion that a succession of thought-provoking German films would be continued with this moving insight into the lives of others at a very delicate period of the 80s in East Germany. After months of waiting, the Serbian audience was presented with "Das Leben der Anderen" during The Belgrade Film Festival and we related to it to the extent that whilst leaving the cinema many of us commented on how pleased we would be to see it win the Oscar. And it did, the very same night.

What makes "Das Leben der Anderen" so brilliant to me is the choice of topic- an account of the years of dangerous living in East Germany, during which almost everyone was dubbed suspicious by the Stasi, until after careful and detailed examination the opposite was proved, the obsession with the non-existent enemies of the non-existent prosperity, the overall greyness of the atmosphere in East Berlin. And then, there is also the process that the character of Wiesler undergoes, unveiling the emptiness of his own existence, the process presented with the subtle pace that Donnersmarck dexterously set. The ending is one of the most powerful ones that I have ever seen, containing just the right words- It is for me- spoken by a man who for the first time in his life seems to be doing something for himself, a man who had no life of his own, who lived through other people's lives, but also- It is for me- the words spoken to denote that somebody out there (Dreyman) actually dedicated something (Die Sonate vom guten Menschen) to him.

A gripping story of what happened somewhere in East Berlin to somebody else, not us, or maybe a reminder of what happened to many of us at some other place, at some other time, a reminder that came to life through the lives of others somewhere in Berlin.

So powerful, so beautifully crafted. A true gem.

10/10
2007-03-08
The ghost of authoritarian regimes
I've been taking German lessons for about 2 months now, and since movies were great in helping me learn English language I'm always looking for German films to watch (as well as German music to listen to) in order to educate my ears.

Anyway, I went to this place where I get all sort of rare movies and this one caught my attention... and I had no idea it got the Oscar for foreign language film this year! So I watched it without prejudice and... what did I find? A MASTERPIECE! This is the kind of movie that gets your attention from the first moment, and makes you interested in understanding the characters' psyche, which is very varied: you have the idealistic good guys, the idealistic bad guys, the people that broad their minds understanding that no political dogma is better than individual freedom, etc. And even though the movie has very tough moments it is all so well done and presented with such a good taste that in the end you feel some sort of relieved.

In this present day, when the ghost of authoritarian regimes still fly over our heads (in my country we're getting closer and closer to that reality), this movie will make you think about how important love, life and freedom are.

A must see!
2007-03-11
The globe's best . . .
"Who knows the secrets of the human heart?" Col in The Crying Game

WhenI saw 2006's Oscar winning Departed, I was satisfied it could be the best picture of the year; then I saw Pan's Labyrinth and thought it imaginatively superior; then I saw Lives of Others, the Oscar choice for best foreign film, and I knew it was the globe's best film of the year, no argument.

Lives of Others is what all movie making should strive to be: interesting characters, thrilling plot, superb acting, and thematic weight. It's set in East Berlin, 1984, five years before the Wall's fall and Gorbachev's "glasnost" and still felling the tremors of Nazism, in this case the Stasi, a government agency similar to the SS. Capt. Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Muehe), a Stasi teacher and coldly efficient information gatherer, surreptitiously watches playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) and his actress girlfriend Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck) to get compromising details that would damn Dreyman and open the romantic way for the culture minister, Bruno Hempf (Thomas Thieme). Oddly for an artist, Dreyman is loyal to socialism, so it is through Sieland that the information must come.

The dramatic hub of this absorbing intrigue is the growing affection Wiesler gains for the actress and coincidentally the underground freedom movement, mostly as it is represented by artists and their friends. While his efficiency is amply evident in his cool detachment, similar to that of Rafe Fiennes in Schindler's List and Serg Lopez in Pan's Labyrinth, his humanity seeps out at the edges as he becomes vicariously involved in the artists' lives. First-time director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck misses not a beat in slowly revealing the hearts of all his principals while he creates a plot remarkably interesting for a character-driven piece.

Few films could mine the rich conflict between the totalitarian state and artists who yearn for freedom of expression, between the loyalties of friends and lovers and the crushing exigency of survival. Lives of Others shows how difficult it is to watch others' lives unfold and not be drawn to their passion. It's rough out there: No other film of 2006 showed that cliché better. Here's looking at you, best film of the year.
2007-03-07
You can sacrifice anything but yourself and your love and love filled with guilt is better to be dead.
You can sacrifice anything but yourself and your love and love filled with guilt is better to be dead.

The theme of the movie is complex to construe coz it has many layers, its very humane as a theme and brings very gross realities as a human being. Setup in the 1980's Germany where it was still divided and it was in East Germany about an artist couple, a writer and an actress being watched over by the Stasi, by HGW XX/7 the code name of the Policeman who wil note the records of what the couple does all through. This policeman played by Ulrich Muhe is the protagonist of the film. Now, the whole movie drives with his writings, his listenings and what he makes out of them. Truth is kept alive by this man and that is what he lives for, for truth.

Now, few movies have a very engrossing screenplay from first frame and this one has it and deservingly is one of the best films in terms of story and screenplay, the direction is so well done that never for a slightest moment did I feel that something was out of place or it is uncalled for, everything went as per the script which is the true hero. There are no aberrations as such as each character is etched out superbly. You cannot write characters as black and white coz there is a flaw in each and that's what is shown.

It's one of the few films that is supremely human and music too has it's own place to bring out humanity, like reference of Lenin's quote on Betthoven's symphony. Watch it to know it, I cannot comprehend in mere words what this film is.

One of the superb films in recent times. I make it 5/5.
2014-09-20
"If you don't take a stand, you're not human."
Set in 1984 East Berlin, "The Lives of Others" focuses on a man, Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe), who undergoes a gradual transformation that ultimately ends in tragedy for the 'enemies of socialism' he originally sets out to investigate. That transformation occurs painstakingly over time and with no single event to make him change his mind. Instead, Weisler gains a gradual understanding of human beings who value artistic creativity and freedom along with an insight into what makes them tick. The story takes a remarkable turn when the investigator becomes part of the investigation, and is exiled to a proletarian job within the bureaucracy of the Stasi controlled government. Filmed less than a decade ago, the ironies consistent with present day surveillance techniques of the NSA, Google-mapping, and insidious tracking of every keystroke (including these) are a chilling prophecy of mind and thought control unimaginable even in "1984".
2014-08-23
A film you really should see, though most haven't.
Usually when I'm in a cinema at some point my attention wanders to the ceiling and/or the audience. Not so during The Lives of Others! I was held spellbound throughout by the mesmeric quality of writing,acting and direction. OK, so it had English subtitles. But it mattered not one wit.

And yet,ask your friends, however in-the-know they think they are, what they thought of it and 90% will wonder what on earth you are referring to. How sad.

It should be mandatory viewing for UK Sixth Form students, so chillingly does it convey the life-draining claustrophobia and fear endemic in a police state. If you missed this gem in the cinema, do,do get the DVD.
2015-09-02
Masterpiece !
Does not matter if they were called STASI , SECURITATE , KGB , SEKURIMI.... they are just names , but behind them they represented an instrument of terror , repression in what is now former communist countries . A man working for such an organization can be A GOOD MAN (moral,compassionate,human,unbiased,tolerant....) ? How many of them they had a conscience ? It is hard to say that agent (whatever his codename was) is torn by guilt , conscience or simply love for beautiful actress . Who knows ? For me that is an enigma . More people who voted positively for this movie are from eastern Europe ; is normal they witnessed those events (as myself) you can forget those times , with bad things , good things filtered of course by personal opinion and personal experience . I did not know then the time flew , I was enthralled , enchanted , even if I kind of had guessed some things they gonna end up bad . A very moving and humane movie !
2008-01-13
It's for me ...
People, who will choose this movie, should be aware that it is quite real and would provoke quite different feeling, because in my opinion, it is not for ones, who didn't care about the history or actually stand on the opposite benches of some political river. First of all, the movie is not about freedom, but about choices and transitions. It is a very seldom example of hailing and in the same time terrifying the human and not ideas or systems. Simply it is about the Good man and about bad Stasi or DDR. Actually, there is no any innocent in the movie and it's the most absolute recognition that innocent, being not there, being illusion, finally appears in our changing and transitioning, recognizing the value of the others, experiencing their falling down, accelerated by believes, passions and fools and of course viewing yourself through this lens. I strongly believe that the beauty of the is movie is that actually went beyond the script (non intentionally). The play of the actors is breathtaking and will recommend to listen the movie in original (if you can) than the last phrase is so German and dubious...
2013-06-16
Foreign cinema at its best
A really fascinating story of a world I knew little about. Well told by all players, this film is a great depiction of the human capacity for love, bravery, forgiveness and change under such a harsh regime. There is very little I can say other than you should definitely put this on your list.

Along with last year's 'Let The Right One In', 'The Lives Of Others' is an excellent example of how great films from around the world can have a broad appeal. It has further encouraged me to more frequently explore foreign cinema. I hope it does you too. Let's just hope there are no plans by Hollywood to remake this. If ever a story deserved to be told in its original form, this is it.
2011-09-03
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