A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.
Juan José Campanella
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
Gerd Wiesler is an officer with the Stasi, the East German secret police. The film begins in 1984 when Wiesler attends a play written by Georg Dreyman, who is considered by many to be the ultimate example of the loyal citizen. Wiesler has a gut feeling that Dreyman can't be as ideal as he seems and believes surveillance is called for. The Minister of Culture agrees but only later does Wiesler learn that the Minister sees Dreyman as a rival and lusts after his partner Christa-Maria. The more time he spends listening in on them, the more he comes to care about them. The once rigid Stasi officer begins to intervene in their lives, in a positive way, protecting them whenever possible. Eventually, Wiesler activities catch up to him and while there is no proof of wrongdoing, he finds himself in menial jobs - until the unbelievable happens. Written by
having had the joy - while not living in the old gdr itself - to have some "accidental" run ins with the good old stasi then, i found it awkward that a German director from the "west" would have the guts to take on the subject of this "ministry of greyness".
writer/director florian henkell von donnersmarck (nice name for a teutonic director, me thinks, very fancy - makes you bang your heels) not only survived this bout of pretension which could have let him drowned in a swamp of reproaches and allegations about executing the "justice of the winners", but he transformed the tale into a story that can and will be understood anywhere in the world: a tale about power, treason and the almost anarchistic potency of emotions.
while at the same time not falling into the trap of moralizing with a waving finger but showing us "the system" as an bureaucratic nightmare powered by - eventually - once even good intentioned human robots of socialist self-righteousness who actually destroy all real positive socialist impulses in the ones they plague, this film is - even if one disagrees with it's premises - probably the most important political drama coming out of Germany for years.
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