Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Starring: Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch, Martina Gedeck
Not only one of the best German films of the 2000s, The Lives of Others has good standing amongst the best German films of all time, thanks not only to its quality but also its commentary. Set in West Berlin in 1983, the film follows Stasi officer Gerd (Ulrich Mühe) who is ordered to spy on a playwright (Sebastian Koch) and his lover (Martina Gedeck), as they are suspected of being loyal to the Communist Party. As he surveils them, however, Gerd becomes sympathetic to the couple and begins to have his loyalties tested. The Lives of Others is beautifully acted and directed, but its greatness truly lies in its writing. The film’s commentary on German history, both in the distant and more recent past, is sobering and powerful, showing ordinary people oppressed by a tyrannical government. The Lives of Others is required viewing for anyone with even a minor interest in German history. The movie comes to Netflix on March 15.