Many movies are easily forgotten. But some, such as The Lives of Others (originally released in German as Das Leben der Anderen), leave me in a state of quiet astonishment that lingers for a long time. I saw this award-winning work one year ago when it was presented by the Kalamazoo Film Society and I still can’t forget it. Yes, it's that good.
Set in Germany shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, The Lives of Others concerns a playwright and his actor girlfriend and the Stasi agent assigned to conduct surveillance of the couple. You couldn’t find two men more different than these: the passionate artist who has managed to live a full life within the constraints of the Communist system, and the Stasi agent who has no life of his own.
This will be no typical surveillance assignment. As the agent listens in on the playwright and his girlfriend, his life begins to change, a sort of familiarity-bred contempt in reverse that affects the agent’s life and his allegiances and that eventually propels everyone past a point of no return.
A beautiful story that is superbly acted and directed, The Lives of Others is a movie you won't forget.
The Lives of Others