Foreign Film Pick – “The Lives of Others”

| July 23, 2010
lives of others foreign film

Perhaps the best foreign film I have seen – The Lives of Others

I can’t tell you how many people turn up their noses when I recommend foreign movies with subtitles. Guess what? There are tons of great film makers that don’t speak English! Donna and I have watched German, Polish, French, and Danish films. I also have Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese films in my cabinet that are yet unseen. I love being connected to folks outside the United States. My friend Alex from Hong Kong recommended a few great films from Asia to me recently. In fact, the last time I saw him, he handed me three movies to watch from his personal favorites list. Oh, and I always get a chuckle when I see a preview for an American movie after I have already seen the original in another language. They are remakes! I will plan cover some of them in another post.

Tonight, I want to recommend one of my all time favorites called “The Lives of Others.” It is a story about eavesdropping on the comings and goings of other people. Sounds kind of creepy, I know. Fortunately Facebook has made this perfectly acceptable behavior in our modern society. Set in 1980s Berlin, it all begins with a simple surveillance assignment given to Captain Gerd Wiesler, a Stasi officer and surveillance specialist. He is tasked with keeping an eye on Georg Dreyman, a respected playwright, and his actress girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland. The story unfolds as the officer becomes emotionally attached to the people he is ordered to surveil. My sense is that he yearns to have the rich and creative life of his subjects, which is one far from his own. Honestly, the story is so riveting that I forget that I was reading subtitles throughout the movie. It also has a great twist at the end that will not disappoint.

If you have not tried watching foreign films, I highly recommend it. It is really refreshing to see a cast of characters you know nothing about. You also gain an opportunity to see a story told from a completely different perspective. I have a pretty good list of films to share and look forward to mixing in a few posts about them going forward.

Category: Multifarious