The Lives of Others

Oscar Winner

Genre:  Drama
Running Time:  137 min.
Release Date: February 9, 2007 (limited)
DVD: August 21, 2007

Current rating: Rating: 4.18
based on 110 votes and 15 reviews
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Cast: Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme, Hans-Uwe Bauer


In 1984 East Berlin, five years before Glasnost and the fall of the Berlin wall, Captain Gerd Wiesler, a highly skilled officer who works for the Stasi, East Germany’s all-powerful secret police, gradually becomes disillusioned.

Assigned to spy on the celebrated playwright George Dreyman, by Minister Bruno Hempf, he bugs Dreyman’s apartment and sets up surveillance in the attic of the building. At first Weisler's observations show that, unlike most of his artistic peers, Dreyman does not display any outwardly disdain for the GDR (German Democratic Republic). Dreyman's position slowly changes however, as he discovers that his girlfriend, Christa-Maria, has been pressured into a sexual relationship with Minister Hempf.

When his close friend, theater director Albert Jerska is driven to suicide after years of unofficial “blacklisting” by the government, Dreyman can no longer remain silent. Now determined to alert the outside world about the conditions of life under the GDR, he begins a plot to place an article with the famous West German publication Der Spiegel, exposing the GDR's policy of covering up the high suicide rates under the regime.

Meanwhile, Wiesler's unemotional façade is showing signs of erosion. While he observes the day-to-day life of Dreyman and Christa-Maria, he begins to be drawn into their world.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Studio: Mongrel Media
Producer(s): Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann
Screenplay: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
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