The Lives of Others
This is another film I have seen before, sometime before I started this blog. I had actually forgotten I had seen it, but as I watched it I realised I knew the story. Not to matter as this is an excellent film well worthy of another watch.
It is about a Stasi operative who is monitoring a playwright who is suspected of subversiveness. He has the playwright’s apartment thoroughly bugged and is constantly listening in for any dirt he can dig up. But, in the process he starts to feel that what he is doing is wrong and attempts to have the operation stopped.
It is an extremely well-told film, and is on the whole quite dark and depressing, I don’t think there was a single scene which was anything but. I don’t remember anyone laughing in the film at all, it was just a tale of paranoia, desperation, suicide, and unending dread, yet it was gripping and the acting was top notch. The fellow playing the Stasi operative was actually born in East Germany and worked as a border guard before turning to acting. He died from stomach cancer in 2007.
From what I have read on Wikipedia about this, the film actually does not go far enough when portraying the oppressiveness of the Stasi, and that the operative in the film would not have been able to get away with what he did because he too would have been constantly watched. Still, the film showed us just what a terrible regime it was.
This was the director’s first film, and unfortunately after his next film, The Tourist, he did not make another film until just recently. He has a film called “Werk ohne Autor” coming out this year, another film about East Germany. Hopefully it is released outside Europe.
This is not for those who like to be happy when they watch a film, because the whole thing is an excellent thought-provoking bummer.
Date watched: March 12th
Film count 2018: 22