Das Leben der Anderen

Or ‘The Lives of Others’

A German movie about living in East Germany before the Wall came down.

The Stasi is all-pervading, and people watch what they are saying. A writer and his actress girlfriend (“Künstler” or “artists”) are put under surveillance under the supervision of a Stasi officer, who while eavesdropping slowly gets involved and starts to question the system he serves.

The film twists and turns, especially toward the end, but rather than an outlandish plot it’s the depth of character portrayal that really grabs the viewer, with a brilliant mood setting for pre-1989 DDR. Much darker than another great recent German movie set in the same time and place, Goodbye Lenin.

Top notch film, captivating and essential viewing.