Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) * * * * *

"If I keep listening to it, I won't finish the revolution."-Lenin, regarding Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata (as recounted in "The Lives Of Others").

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is how to make an authentic contemporary dramatic thriller…

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) won the Academy award trophy for Best Foreign Language Film and the European Film Academy award for Best Picture this year. Visually enthralling, poetic, well acted and very well written, The Lives of Others, the third German film to ever win an Oscar is one of the best film of this decade so far.

Today, Germany’s filmmaking status is on its renaissance… it has been almost 40 years since we had the global influence of famous German directors such as Fassbinder, Stanley Kubrick and Fritz Lang, now a lot of new filmmakers are embarking on a series of international hits including this pre Berlin Wall suspense thriller movie.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's movie debut focuses on the horrifying, sometimes unintentionally funny system of observation in the former East Germany. In the early 1980s, the successful dramatist Georg Dreyman and his longtime companion Christa-Maria Sieland, a popular actress, are big intellectual stars in the socialist state, although they secretly don't always think loyal to the party line. One day, the Minister of Culture becomes interested in Christa, so the secret service agent Wiesler is instructed to observe and sound out the couple, but their life fascinates him more and more...

Wiesler (played magnificently by Best Actor winner Ulrich Muhe) together with his tech team installed devices so that he can monitor the entire conversation takes place on their residence day and night. But as the story progresses, Wiesler seems to be not faithfully committed to the communist party after all… and this constitutes to several surprising and unexpected events in the story.

The Lives of Others is one of the best thrillers of the contemporary cinema along with Park Chan Wook’s “Oldboy”. Sadly, few Filipinos can see it and as usual, soon the masses must endure a Hollywood version again…


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