Das Leben der Anderen
The Lives of Others
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
It was interesting to see this after just watching Goodbye, Lenin. While the two films are obviously starkly different in both tone and style, I would highly recommend watching them together as the pair complement each other beautifully.
The movie takes place in 1984 East Germany. Stasi official Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler is assigned to spy on Georg Dreyman, a playwright, and Christa-Maria Sieland, his beautiful girlfriend who is addicted to prescription medication. It doesn't take long for Wiesler to figure out that Dreyman has been placed under surveillance simply because the Minister of Culture wants Dreyman's girlfriend and hopes to eliminate his romantic rival. After weeks of observing the couple, Wiesler finds himself forming a strong attachment to the couple.
I'm paraphrasing, but I think the Book said this was a Kafka-esque twist on The Conversation. I think that comparison sums it up brilliantly. I was continuously surprised at the directions the plot took. The opening of this film led me to believe that Wiesler was going to be a sadistic, Christoph Waltz-like villain. I guess I shouldn't reveal any spoiler, but I will say that the film is very successful in subverting expectations.
9 more to go...
The actors agreed to work for 20% of their usual salaries.