Sunday, February 18, 2007

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)

I am truly speechless and very moved by this picture. Yes, the story is incredibly painful to watch, but the movie is so well done, that even if early you guess what is going to happen, you cannot take your eyes from the screen one second.

It starts slowly and somehow even boring, but suddenly Ulrich Muhe, that plays Hayptmann Gerd Weisler, takes you inside the movie, he grabs you and you become him. From there on there is no way out and the ride is heavy. Great actor and great performance.

Being Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck opera prima, as a writer and as a director, it is a masterpiece of story telling in cinema and hopefully some day I will read the book. No, I am not German; I have only been to Berlin, where I met several people that lived in the East. That’s about my only direct relation to this story. So, my reaction is more to the drama and how well it was presented and performed. Besides, the surveillance story is so universal; well, at least not with the “happy” ending of this story.

But, to me the story is about acquiring a conscience. When you realize that everything you been doing, believing, breathing, being passionate and sometimes blinded with faith (believe- do not ask) just crumbles into tiny little pieces. Most of the time stories like this take the main character down into the fall, but this one shows that conscience can be acquired fast and you can redeem yourself, for your own sake, not for others acceptance and recognition. The silent heroes.

The Oscar nomination is very well deserved and yes, it is a stong contender for Pan’s Labyrinth. Two very different movies with one thing in common both showed tragedies of the world’s past.

This movie trigged quite a stir in Germany. Besides winning 7 Lola’s, made the Stasi files very popular with people reading their own files double in a year.

A must be seen movie.

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