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's 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
Christa-Maria and Georg's apartment is in Wedekind street in Friedrichshain, as confirmed in the DVD commentary. The buildings in the entire quarter surrounding Wedekindstr were part of a massive rebuilding project in the GDR, and were completed in the early 1950s. All of the balconies that can be seen while Georg is playing football with the children on the street, along with the ceramic work illustrate the particular Soviet style really clearly. However, the interior of the apartment and most of what we see of the building interior is what would be called 'alt bau', effectively 'old style' - the apartment has high ceilings, the stairwells have carved wooden balustrades and doors which clearly predate the 50s. When the Stasi men come through the front doors for the first time, you can see the interior of these buildings as they really look, in the next shot the style has gone back at least 40 years. See more »
Stand still. Eyes to the floor.
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The US version features a written prologue in English, explaining the historical context of the film. See more »
I do agree with all the other positive comments, and just need to add that this is the very first movie about the former GDR I saw that is not something like a comedy. Flicks like "Sonnenallee" or "Good bye Lenin" definitely were great and funny, but unconsciously left myself (a West German) with the impression that the GDR has been a sort of "Mickey Mouse State" full of stupid but charming characters, not really to be taken seriously. After seeing "Das Leben der Anderen" this impression shifted quite a bit: there actually was suffering, killing desperation and a terribly claustrophobic atmosphere behind that wall. This might well be the most realistic depiction of the dark side of the former East Germany. Thanks to the Producers, actors and director for making this movie. 10 out of 10.
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