German flick

September 17, 2007

When Pan’s Labyrinth didn’t win best foreign film this year, I cursed the German film “The Lives of Others” as inferior and worthy of disdain. This was my initial reaction. Then I began to read some reviews, and accepted that it might be good — just not good enough for an Oscar. My curiosity grew stronger, until I finally started looking for the movie at our local video shop.

Carlos surprised me with a copy of it on Saturday night, the night the teenager stayed at a friend’s house and we had some precious couple of hours to ourselves after the baby went to bed. The movie was wonderful, and I can see now why it beat out Pan … although I still think it was an incredibly close call.


It deals with the east German secret police, or “Stasi,” and their efforts to smear a good-hearted writer who has just debuted a new play. The movie explores the complexity of running a police state, and the ways powerful men can use their personal weaknesses  against others. As much as there are villains in the film there are also amazing heroes. It is set in divided Germany in 1984, years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film is a love story, thriller, history lesson, character study and poignant drama. I’m glad I saw it.


One Response to “German flick”

  1. cat said

    I agree about how you felt when Pan’s Labyrinth didn’t win the Oscar and now I will have to take your recomendation and see this movie.

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