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The Lives of Others [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français)

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  • Actors: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme
  • Directors: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
  • Writers: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
  • Producers: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Andreas Schreitmüller, Claudia Gladziejewski, Dirk Hamm, Max Wiedemann
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Aug. 21 2007
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P46QTA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,635 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 6 2007
Format: DVD
"The lives of others" (= Das leben der anderen") is a wonderful film directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Truth to be told, I hadn't heard his name before, but I am certain that I will not forget it now. This film, his debut as a director, is simply exceptional. An engaging political thriller, this movie is at the same time a complex study regarding the power of choices, and the way we behave when faced to our worst fears.

The story is set in East Germany in 1984, when the lack of freedom and the zeal of the Secret Police (Stasi) were pervasive. Captain Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) is an agent that specializes in discovering "traitors", that is, those that don't agree with everything that the government says. Wiesler is very good at his job, and has no mercy for those that don't add up to his ideal of what a good socialist should be.

That is probably the reason why his superior assigns him the task of of spying on Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), a well-known socialist playwright that is nonetheless suspicious, due to his friends. Dreyman lives with his girlfriend, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck), a talented actress that loves him but has sexual trysts with a powerful government official that promises her that she will never be in the black list of artist that cannot work.

As Wiesler learns more about the couple, thanks to the hidden microphones his team installed in their apartment, he starts warming towards them. He even protects them when Dreyman becomes actively involved in "subversive" activities, as a reaction to the suicide of a friend that had been blacklisted. But how far will Wiesler risk himself? And can human beings really change?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Prairie Pal TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 27 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Lives of Others needs little introduction or much further praise. It won the 2006 Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film and is widely recognized to be one of the best movies of the decade. It is the story of an agent of the ever-watching and ultra-paranoid East German secret police, the Stasi, and how he becomes inextricably bound up in the lives of those people he is keeping under surveillance.

There is certainly a historical purpose for making and watching this film. The German Democratic Republic, the DDR, was a fact of life until 1989. Though it was despised for its erection of the Berlin Wall and its brutal contempt for human rights, it was believed by many in the West to be a significant economic power and one of the East Bloc's success stories. The fall of the Berlin Wall revealed those beliefs to be untrue and eliminated the oppressive state apparatus that had governed millions of Germans since the late 1940s. Anything that makes more aware of the reality of those lost decades is to be commended.

More importantly, however, The Lives of Others asks important questions about the value of truth in human life. Can we live with lies on an industrial scale? How much untruth can we tolerate in order to further our careers and keep ourselves out of trouble? What price do we pay if we swallow the lies or rebel against them?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Power HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 17 2012
Format: DVD
In a heartless time under a heartless regime, somehow, someone found a heart, and faced with a dilemma made a decision, that would impact the Lives of Others.

It is a rare sign only seen in the best movies, and masterful how this movie builds up, and unwinds, and unwinds even more just as you think its already completely unwound.

A Stasi officer listens in on the life of a poet who may be a dissident, and comes to admire and respect his subject, which ultimately poses an ethical dilemma for someone who in the past has interrogated numerous people on behalf of the brutal regime.

This story is as intricate as the inner working of a watch, make the slightest wrong adjustment and....

So Ulrich Muhe gives an excellent performance as the officer as does Sebastian Koch as Dreyman. Apparently, Muhe was bugged himself when he live in East Germany, and his ex wife sued him for mentioning this in a radio interview.

Lives of Others won Best Foreign Language movie at the Oscars. After watching the movie, I watched some of the earlier scenes over. At around 8 minutes you see the actresses proclamation on stage, and the words she said set up two later scenes. See if you can figure it out.

If you're like me, and you love this movie, you will most probably also like Black Book, also starring Sebastian Koch as the male lead. Directed by Paul Verho even of Basic Instinct and Total Recall fame. One of the few movies I have bought in addition to watching.

Anyone who enjoys outstanding foeign movies as I do I think will enjoy this, and I hope this was helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18 2010
Format: DVD
'The Lives of Others' is an interesting recent German film set in the old Communist DDR, depicting a relationship between watcher and watched.

The watched is Georg Dreyman, a playwright known for his ideological plays, and the only living East German playwright who is read in the West (the film being set in 1984). His plays express the possibility that people are capable of change - much to the contempt of the Minister for Culture, who doesn't believe they are. The corrupt Minister, who has designs on Dreyman's actress girlfriend, orders the Stasi (state security) to investigate him.

Enter the watcher: Stasi officer Gerd Wiesler. Wiesler leads a lonely, fairly meaningless existence, mirroring the feeling of East Berlin itself (as portrayed in the film). But Wiesler also has an idealist streak, in contrast to his more Machiavellian colleagues. This idealism doens't quite mesh with the corrupt system - and perhaps he has sensed this subconsciously for some time. The things he overhears when listening in on Dreyman finally convince him that the system is not what it claims to be, nor what he originally thought it was.

'The Lives of Others' is certainly worth watching for the evocative historical atmosphere it creates. Worth noting, too, is the ending, set two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Dreyman attends a new version of one of his old plays in Berlin, and comes face to face with his old enemy the Culture Minister. The latter expresses his contempt for the new Germany, saying it gives people "nothing to believe in, nothing to rebel against".
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