September 21 & 23, 2007

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Rated R
137 minutes

The Lives of Others (2006)

September 21, 2007 at 7:00 and 10:00 pm in 26-100
September 23, 2007 at 7:00 pm in 26-100

Five years before its downfall, the former East- German government (known as the GDR, German Democratic Republic) ensures its claim to power with a ruthless system of control and surveillance via the Stasi, a vast network of informers that at one time numbered 200,000 out of a population of 17 million. Their goal is to know everything about "the lives of others."

Devoted Stasi officer and expert interrogator Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe) is given the job of collecting evidence against the famous playwright Georg Dreyman. The job begins after Lieutenant Colonel Anton Grubitz (Ulrich Tukur), a former classmate of Wiesler's who now heads the Culture Department at the State Security, invites Wiesler to accompany him to the premiere of the new play by Dreyman, also attended by Minister Bruno Hempf (Thomas Thieme). Minister Hempf tells Grubitz that he has doubts about the successful playwright's loyalty to the SED, the ruling Socialist Unity Party, and implies that he would approve of a full-scale surveillance operation. Grubitz, eager to boost his own political future, entrusts the monitoring, or "Operative Procedure," to Wiesler, who promises to oversee the case personally. Wiesler is also convinced that Dreyman cannot possibly be as loyal to the Party as has always been assumed.

However, Hempf's distrust of Dreyman is not politically motivated. Hempf cannot take his eyes off the attractive lead actress Christa-Maria Sieland, Dreyman's girlfriend. While Dreyman is away from their home, his apartment is systematically bugged. A neighbor who notices the operation is forced to keep silent by a personal threat. Wiesler sets up his surveillance headquarters in the attic of Dreyman's apartment building, thus beginning Wiesler's cold and calculating observation of the lives of the playwright and his girlfriend. []

Sponsored by MISTI.

A neatly crafted thriller with first rate acting, directing and writing combined with spy paraphernalia and political intrigue. Fully deserving of its status as Germany's Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee.
      -- Ron Wilkinson, Monsters and Critics. Read this review.

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