Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Das Leben der Anderen...

... is a frickin' AWESOME movie of a completely different order of magnitude. I'm not going to waste your time with a review of it, not when there's perfectly adequate ones here, here and here. Frankly, there's no arguing with a score of 93% from a site as harsh as Rotten Tomatoes.

It's set in the totalitarian regime of the German Democratic Republic in 1984, that is, while the Berlin wall was still up. To give you an idea of the strength of this movie, here's an extract of a monologue central to the plot:

The State's head office for Statistics on Hans Beimer St counts everything, knows everything. How many shoes I buy per year: 2.3, how many books I read in a year: 3.2, and how many students graduate in a year with a 4.0 GPA: 6,347. But there is one number not registered, perhaps because such a number hurts even the bureaucrats: suicides.

If you called the Beimler St office and asked, "How many people between the Elbe and Oder rivers, between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains were driven to death from desperation?", then our oracle of numbers remains silent, and probably writes down your full name for the State Security, those grey men who take care of our country's security and happiness.

Since 1977 our country has ceased counting cases of suicide. "Murdering oneself". That's what they call it. This act has nothing to do with murder. It knows no bloodlust. It knows no passion. It only knows dying. The dying of hope.

9 years ago, when we stopped counting suicides, only one European country had a higher suicide rate: Hungary. After them was us, the country of the living breathing Socialism...

Really, seriously no kidding, this movie is a work of art to put Hollywood for the past 10 years to shame. My vocabulary in every language I know would not give sufficient praise for this movie. You must watch it. Herr Weisler defines everything a true hero should be. And I think he kinda looks like Kevin Spacey...

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