09 November 2011

The Lives of Others (2006)

Original title: Das Leben der Anderen
Conceived, written, and directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (debut)

A Stasi was what they called State Security men, part of the East Germany "socialist" regime, the closest to the Thought Police in Orwell's 1984. Certain suspects, many artists, were under surveillance by the Stasi, and other normal people also became Stasi by becoming informants.

The film depicts a writer, his beautiful actress and lover, and a conflicted Stasi.

Beautifully filmed, exquisitely written--the little details turning into clues, not overdramatic yet never lets your attention go, exceptional acting. I want to recommend it to everyone I know. To think about human goodness, even in the worst of times.

Fun Facts:
  • Florian Henckel was born in East Germany, and talks about the fear he sensed in people every time he went with his family to visit his relatives in East Germany and the topic came up
  • The guy in charge of props was also from East Germany and insisted that all the Stasi surveillance tools--headphones, screen, wires, the gizmo box, etc.--were real ones used in the era
  • The budget for this film was very very tight because no one wanted to invest--the actors chose to get 20% or more less to be in this film

Maxim Gorky said that Lenin's favorite piece of music was Beethoven's Appassionata. Apparently, Lenin once said:
And screwing up his eyes and chuckling, [Lenin] added without mirth: But I can't listen to music often, it affects my nerves, it makes me want to say sweet nothings and pat the heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. But today we mustn't pat anyone on the head or we'll get our hand bitten off; we've got to hit them on the heads, hit them without mercy, though in the ideal we are against doing any violence to people. Hm-hm - it's a hellishly difficult office!
 from: Wikipedia

I loved the last scene. I hope he gets to live happier...

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