CINEMA PLUS

Worth a watch

Riveting The Lives of Others.

Riveting The Lives of Others.  

Films like these rarely make it to India. After all, most distributors stillconsider us to be mass consumers of Anaconda and Godzilla. If you are thekind who has been cribbing about the dumbing down of Hollywood, here's yourchance to witness a truly great film of our times. In fact, the best of bestfilms made in recent times.Any film that has won an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category iscertainly worth a watch (and make that a Rolex) in any case. The Germanclassic The Lives of Others is not just a great movie, it is anoverwhelming experience of history from a personal and socio-political pointof view.Writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's masterstroke lies in hisability to give us a micro and a macro-level perspective of East Germany'scontrol over its people, the level of surveillance employed and how thatdirectly affects people separated by ideology. What begins as a personalobsession for surveillance agent Weisler (Ulrich Muhe) helps him to see theother side of ideology when he's employed by the secret police to keep awatch on a rebel writer (Sebastian Koch) and his gorgeous lover (a lovelyMartina Gedeck). Isn't she lovely?The film is as much about people as much as it is about politics, as muchabout humanity as it is about voyeurism, and as much about history as it isabout a world dominated by technology today. If governments could go to theextent they did in 1984, imagine what the system can do today with access tothe most advanced of technology.You will never again take freedom of speech and expression for granted onceyou see The Lives of Others. Though it sounds like a hardcore political film(in fact, it is) the beauty of it is that you don't realise it much untillater when you've gone back home and it comes back to you in its entirety.Because, while watching it, you only during the time you spend in the hall,you only worry and care about the people in the film. You heart goes out toagent as much as the unsuspecting people being watched. With these fantasticactors and taut storytelling, the director manages to keep you riveted tothe action of everyday life in East Germany for a little over two hours.When the film ended at the Chennai International Film Festival (it was theopening film at the fest last year), the audience rose to applaud its finalmoments. Now, let's hope people who pay for popcorn share that passion forcinema. Or, we may never again find cinema like this reaching our theatres.A must-watch. Unless you are happy letting sequels of Hollywood trash takeover our cinema halls. The Lives Of Others Genre: Drama
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur
Storyline: An East Berlin secret police agent assigned to spy on a rebel writer and his lover gets sucked into their lives.
Bottomline: Heartwarming insight into German historySUDHISH KAMATH

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