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Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2008

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"The Lives of Others" ("Das Leben der Anderen") (Blu-ray)

movie-lives-of-others.jpgSynopsis

In 1982, before the Berlin Wall came down, the GDR still held a heavy hand over the people in East Berlin. Many of them wanted to escape to the West, and many tried, and lots of them ended up in prison or the graveyard.

Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz (Tukor) and Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Mühe), officers in the Stasi (Secret Police) are constantly vigilant in looking for traitors who would escape.

One such person under suspicion is a playwright, Georg Dreyman (Koch), living with his girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Gedeck), who also stars in his plays.

Hauptmann Wiesler is ordered to bug his apartment and listen for what he might be up to. In fact, he is writing a play that will depict the GDR in an unfavorable light.

In the meantime, Christa-Maria is being forced into a sexual relationship with another Stasi officer, Minister Bruno Hempf (Thieme), who is the one that asked Wiesler to monitor Dreyman's activities.

Georg meets with a banned writer, Paul Hauser (Bauer), and when they discuss their actual plans to cause a big problem with their new play, Wiesler now is very excited because he will soon be able to spring the trap, capture the traitors in the act, and advance his career.

But, when the Berlin Wall falls, and Wiesler finds that in listening to Georg's and Hauser's discussion of how the GDR is not exactly the most democratic of institutions, and knowing that Hempf has personal reasons for wanting Dreyman to find his way to prison, he begins to sympathize. The final conflict: tell Grubitz what is going on, or let the writing continue and risk his career.

 

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures - Bayerischer Rundfunk
    2006, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 17 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • DD 5.1
  • Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
  • Starring Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Hans-Uwe Bauer
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Germany is producing some great films, and this is one of them. It reminds us of continuing suppression of free speech in Iron Curtain regions of Europe.

Technical

The image is razor sharp, without excessive edge enhancement. Dialogue is very clear (in German, with English subtitles). The music score is a bit odd on occasion.

Extras

These include director interview, making of, deleted scenes, and other things.