Leben der Anderen, Das (2006) – “The Lives of Others”

January 16, 2008


Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Release Date:
13 April 2007 (UK)


Plot Outline:
In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

(Cast overview, first billed only)
Martina Gedeck    …     Christa-Maria Sieland

Ulrich Mühe    …     Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler

Sebastian Koch    …     Georg Dreyman
Ulrich Tukur    …     Oberstleutnant Anton Grubitz
Thomas Thieme    …     Minister Bruno Hempf
Hans-Uwe Bauer    …     Paul Hauser
Volkmar Kleinert    …     Albert Jerska
Matthias Brenner    …     Karl Wallner

Charly Hübner    …     Udo
Herbert Knaup    …     Gregor Hessenstein
Bastian Trost    …     Häftling 227
Marie Gruber    …     Frau Meineke
Volker Michalowski    …     Schriftexperte (as Zack Volker Michalowski)

Werner Daehn    …     Einsatzleiter in Uniform
Martin Brambach    …     Einsatzleiter Meyer


When I heard that this film had won the Best Foreign Language film Oscar over Pan’s Labyrinth I was skeptical.  Let’s be honest, the Oscar’s aren’t always known for getting things right.

But I was wrong.

This is an amazing film, riveting from beginning to end and spotted with dark humour.

The story focuses on something that isn’t in the realms of well known film making.  On the wrong side of the German Iron Curtain in the late 70’s and 80’s artists were under suspicion for there ‘open’ thinking and how it reflects on the political landscape of the time.

This story focuses on a small story enclosed in this setting, and it does it amazingly well.  The dramatic highs and lows are magnificently crested in this almost film noir.  The deliberately bleached film process only adds to the atmosphere suspence and intrigue.

Forget the churned out Hollywood drama that is The Last King of Scotland, and get yourself a piece of some marvelously understated dramatic magnificence.

This film is simply splendid in almost every way and I can’t recommend it highly enough.