Winner of the best foreign-language film award at this year’s Oscars, The Lives Of Others (just released on DVD) is an understated, elegant study of the delicate relationship between art and work, as well as being a cracking Cold War thriller.
Set in East Berlin in 1984, it follows Stasi agent Wiesler as he spies on Georg, a playwright, and Christa, his actress girlfriend, who are suspected of anti-state propaganda.
However, as Wiesler finds in them a love of life lacking in his own world, he starts to suspect that his orders might not be as straightforward as they seem.
Featuring three terrific central performances (especially from the late Ulrich Mühe as Wiesler), its success lies in the contrast between the banality of the surveillance work and the passion of the artists under constant threat from the authorities. A complex, provocative and subtly moving film.