Eastern European Cinema Club III: The Lives of Others

Posted on October 29, 2011

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The Lives of Others (Germany, 2006).
Well, this isn’t specifically an eastern European film. It’s a German film, released in 2006, filmed in Berlin. It does however, deal with the country that most dictates what people assumed about the countries east of the Iron curtain after World War 2. This country, is East Germany. If you think of the most stereotypical dour paranoid communist Eastern European country, then chances are that the world you create in your mind will essentially be East Germany. ‘The Lives of Others’ revolves around the monitoring of the East Berlin cultural scene by Stasi agents, and in particular the surveillance of playwright Georg Dreyman. Secret police officer Gerd Weisler is assigned this task, being considered one of the best at what he does. Dreyman is a pretty clean character however, and it turns out his surveillance is all down to the fact that a Party minister wants to erm, get to know Dreyman’s lover. Weisler is a dedicated party man however, who through his surveillance of Dreyman sees the abuse of power and the emptiness of his own life. The development of Weisler throughout is great, and the depiction of the paranoid world of East Berlin in the 80s is pretty much spot on.

The detail in this film is magnificent, and it has that wonderful Eastern sense of tension that shines through in their films. Ulrich Muhe’s performance as Weisler is particularly stunning, and I would whole heartedly recommend this work to anyone.

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Posted in: Eastern Europe