The Lives of Others
This film takes place in East Germany during 1984. As we know, at that time, East Germany was a worker's paradise. The state cared for all the people and they were happy, but years later this wonderful place was destroyed by interference from the materialistic west. Well, this film makes it looks like Soviet satellites were horrible places to live.
The film tells the story of a East German secret service agent who spies on a playwright, looking for subversive activity. We later learn that the reason for the assignment is a central committee member is jealous of the playwright's girlfriend. So all this spying is not done for the good of the state. We all know that that kind of scurrilous eavesdropping at that time only took place in Reagan's America (though it happens so much more today in Bush's America, oh how I wish it was the Native American's America again with you could send an e-mail without fear that Big Brother was looking over your shoulder.)
The film does show the glory of State Sponsored Art. The playwrights work is produced by the state and the actors are paid by the state. Then, of course, it is implied that the state blacklists directors, actors and playwrights who speak out against in that Woody Allen and Zero Mostel film, The Front. But we know that blacklisting is just an evil to be found in the 1950's America when Ike acted as a front for Richard Nixon who ran the United States from behind the scenes from 1952 through Watergate, but he was able to come out in the open from 1968, but peace, love and flower power and Redford and Hoffman were able to bring him down. We had those Camelot years of Carter, but things have not been very good for the nation otherwise. At least, not as nearly wonderful as East Germany, but you wouldn't guess it from this film.
So don't see this film, but instead enjoy the beauty of the natural world until global warming wipes it out in the next year or two.
I thought there might be something to be said about a film that supposedly shows the evils of the communist system. But no one ever comes right and says, "Communism is evil." It is all more subtle than that, and I don't trust the American people to figure these things out for themselves ever since they elected the American communist party (under the D name) in the congressional elections of 2006.
Now the film shows how evil the commies were to surveil the lives of their citizens, but it did make me think it wouldn't be so bad if a real American administration was keeping track of our lives. At the end of the film, the playwright, after the fall of the wall, is able to access the records of his years under surveillance. Now, I've never been good about keeping a journal, so an argument could be made for the the government keeping that journal for you. But since we maybe looking at a President Mrs. Bill Clinton, I don't want the government knowing any of my private life (which is all on the up and up and not anything I'm ashamed of.)
Another problem with the film, is the sexual content. We see partially nude German people. Now on the plus side, this is nothing that would lead the average person to lust, but it can be quite upsetting to the digestive system. (Unless you're the kind of person who does lust after the East German swim team and then your problems aren't just spiritual.)
So once again, I say, skip this film, a good sermon is all the fun you need. Vinton