The Lives of Others (Brand New in Plastic)

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The Lives of Others (DVD, 2006) Brand New in Plastic

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Following in the footsteps of the German hit Downfall is the extraordinary Academy Award winning film The Lives of Others. Both a profoundly moving human drama and a political thriller, it goes to the very heart of recent European history, tackling the German Democratic Republic and its secret police, the dreaded Stasi. The masterful director Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck has set his film in 1984, five years before the Berlin Wall collapsed. It was a time when the terrifying Stasi made it their business to use an extensive network of spies and surveillance to know every secret thing about their citizens. It was a society that preyed upon human weakness, with the ability to make everyone a potential suspect and destroy everything it touched. Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), one of the country’s most popular – and loyal – playwrights, lives a relatively private life with his lover, the accomplished actress, Christa-Maria Sieland (Marktina Gedeck). However, the couple’s apparently safe world is about to be turned upside down, when Dreyman – precisely because he has neither said nor written anything suspicious – becomes a Stasi suspect. The couple are put under the scrutiny of one of the best – Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler (immaculately played by Ulrich Muhe) – a true believer in the State and a brilliantly skilled officer. With Wiesler listening in, he begins to learn all sorts of things, perhaps even things he wasn’t supposed to know, information that hints at unsuspected motives behind the wiretapping. Wiesler evolves from solitary observer to an emotional participant, becoming embroiled in the lives of others. His involvement takes the story to unexpected and fascinating places with shattering results. Meticulously directed and brilliantly written, the twists and turns in The Lives of Others make it a captivating thriller, while it is a film filled with humanity. The Lives of Others is a fascinating look at a dark and chilling period in recent history, a plea for compassion and freedom, but most of all it is a great story that reminds us of the possibility and power of filmmaking.

DVD

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4

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1

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MA15+

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Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Hock, Ulrich Tukur, Hans-Uwe Bauer, Volkmar Kleinert, Thomas Thieme, Gabi Fleming, Charly Hubner, Hinnerk Schonemann, Volker Michalowski, Martin Brambach, Gitta Schweighofer, Susanna Kraus, Hildegard Schroedter, Matthias Brenner, Thomas Arnold, Paul Maximilian Schuller, Herbert Knaup, Sheri Hagen, Marie Gruber, Paul Fassnacht, Werner Daehn, Andrei Yaroslavtsev, Ludwig Blochberger, Lyubov Germanova, Vyacheslav Baranov, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Laura Boccanera, Bastian Trost, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, Inga Birkenfeld, Hubertus Hartmann, Jens Wassermann, Fabian von Klitzing, Harald Polzin, Michael Gerber.

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Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

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134 minutes

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German, English Subtitles

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16/11/2006

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