The Lives of Others ( Das Leben de Anderen )

Posted By yonghow on October 11th, 2007

The tagline for Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others ( 2006 Academy award winner for best foreign language film ) – “Before the Fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany’s Secret Police Listened to Your Secrets.” succintly describes the film’s plotline – its tells the monitoring of East Berlin’s cultural scene by agents of the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police, through the eyes of one particular agent Gerd Wiesler. Beyond this it’s hard to divulge more details of the film without disclosing potential spoilers; but invest 2 hours of your free time and you will be duly rewarded with a most riveting performance.

In some ways, The Lives of Others reminds me of Roman Polanski’s The Pianist – the sombre cinematography, in this case utilizing a carefully selected palette of muted greens and grey, which lend an oppressive, stylized look to the film; as well as the deliberate, understated use of its musical score. One too many films these days use music excessively as cheap glaze to bring about catharsis.

The Lives of Others is easily the best film I’ve watched this year. I haven’t quite felt such a sense of awe for the cinema in a while, maybe not since Ichikawa Jun’s Toni Takitani in 2005. My highest recommendation.

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Posted in Cinematography, Film

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