Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)

Oh, how I’ve missed watching foreign films. I am seemingly fond of German films what with Goodbye, Lenin, Run Lola Run, and Wings of Desire to name a few films. I can admit that I am an Anglophile, a Francophile, but I often forget how much German art I love. Not only films, but I listen to classic and baroque music; Rainer Maria Rilke is one of my favourite poets. Brecht is referenced in this film which reminds me I should check him out more too.

Art and beauty is an important characteristic in this drama and political thriller. A little goes a long way in this film. It is subtle, intricate, and layered. I was left speechless when the movie ended and wondered how I was going to write a review. That is usually an indicator of how much the film affected me. The script is incredibly well written. The music plays a character and is superbly scored by Gabriel Yared. The movie features stylized colours, very GDR, and shot with soft focus.

The acting is crazy good in this film. I don’t want to go on and on about how amazing some of the performances were. Listening to the director’s commentary, it’s clear he is an “actor’s director”. He appreciates actors. He cast non-speaking parts to well known German actors just to make every detail worthwhile. There was such meticulousness imbued into this film. Without a doubt, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is a promising director/screenwriter. Will he be be able to follow up with this debut? No idea, but even if it isn’t half as good as this film, it would be still be a very fine movie.

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