Saturday, January 31, 2009

THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2007, Germany) Winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This is a good film but EL LABERINTO DEL FAUNO is much more intellectually challenging and technically superior and should have taken home the golden statue. Anyway, this film has a realistic paranoid edge that must have existed in East Germany in the 1980's as the Stasi (Big Brother) spied and reported on everyon...even their own. Just tow the party line and don't do or say anything subversive but our protagonists, intellectuals and artists at heart, are doomed from the start. Stasi agent Wiesler is assigned to spy on them and he slowly becomes more and more obsessed and sympathetic towards his prey until he makes a seemingly fatal decision that could save a life and forfeit his own! The ending drags on a bit and seems too superficial; it replaces the powerful emotional (and physical) impact with a contrived discovery. (B-)

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