October 6, 2010

Review: Looking into “The Lives of Others”

An imprisoned man under interrogation is forced to give up information that will doom his friend, while officers in training watch approvingly. So begins “The Lives of Others,” a touching film about suicide, wiretapping and oppression. No, really.
The film, “Das Leben der Anderen” in the original German, is the second in Knox’s Russian and Eastern European film series, held every Thursday in George Davis Hall room 303 at 8 p.m.
The film series is tied to one of professor Daniel Beers’ classes, Russian and East European Politics, but that does not mean that the films are only open to members of that class.
“I wanted to show a lot of these films in class anyway,” said Beers. “I wanted to open it up to the entire campus.”
The atmosphere in the classroom during the viewing was easy and welcoming. The students — mostly political science or international relations majors — knew each other, which gave the pre-film chatter a congenial tone. This, though, did not leave newcomers feeling left out, instead it made the room more comfortable.
The film follows the life of playwright Georg Dreyman, a playwright in East Berlin. Although he seems to be the perfect socialist, suspicious members of Germany’s secret police begin to monitor his every move. The film also follows Gerd Wiesler, the man in charge of the investigation and who is influenced by watching Dreyman’s existence.
Although some people may balk at the idea of spending two hours watching a subtitled film about the repressive East Berlin intelligence system, they might be surprised to learn that at its heart, the film is a thrilling spy story. Everything about this film, from the writing to the acting to the camerawork, is outstanding.
Since the film is a First-Year Preceptorial Common Experience, most upper classmen have watched this film before, and freshmen will watch this film this term. If you somehow slipped through the cracks, however, you should really watch this movie.
Senior Lauren Reid found the film fascinating. “It’s an interesting insight into the mindset of the Eastern European bloc,” she said.
Any interested students should stop by next week’s movie, “Goodbye Lenin.” The film is a comedy about a man whose staunchly Soviet mother falls into a coma right before the fall of the Berlin Wall. When she wakes up, the knowledge that her beloved country is now capitalist would be too much for her weak heart, so her son must keep her from learning the truth.

Paige Anderson
Paige Anderson is a junior double majoring in computer science and creative writing. This is her second year as co-Mosaic editor. Outside of TKS, Paige has written for Knox’s Office of Communications and for her high school newspaper; her in-depth work won a third-place medal in the Redwood Empire Excellence in Journalism Awards competition. Paige will intern at Amazon during the summer of 2013.

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