The Lives of Others

My girl and I watched a movie tonight called “The Lives of Others”. It’s a fascinating movie about a pro-socialist writer in pre-glasnost East Germany who comes under the scrutiny of the state after a corrupt government official sets his sights on the writer’s beautiful actress girlfriend.

This was a stunning movie. Set in communist East Germany in the early 80’s, it exposes the corruption and brutality of that form of government, where anyone can be labeled an “enemy of the state” and subject to covert surveillance, interrogation, extortion, and imprisonment simply on the word of whoever happens to be in a position pf power. It’s simply amazing to me that just 20 years ago in East Germany, doing something that we completely take for granted, like writing an article (or today’s equivalent, a blog), could land somebody in jail for years if some government official deemed it a “threat” to the state, or more likely his power base.

The story is far more than a history lesson though. in addition to dealing with the dark oppression of socialism, it also deals with love, betrayal, and the softening of a hard heart. It’s suspenseful and hopeful, but also tragic. This is a movie that will crush you as it exposes the human capacity for selfishness and cruelty, yet will lift you with it’s messages of bravery and redemption. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I highly recommend it.