Episode 62: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others  (2006)

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In this episode, I continue my exploration of films that helped me through my grief after my father died in 2006. “The Lives of Others” is an important film in my life. I have intense memories of watching it for the first time in a theater. It’s about playwright, Georg Dreyman, and his lover, Christa-Maria Sieland, who come under surveillance in 1984 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). After WWII, Germany was split between West Germany and East Germany, the latter being controlled by the Soviet Union. It was a repressive government that used a secret police known as the Stasi to turn everyday people into informants through threats, interrogation, and violence. I talk about why this film is so important due to its examination of themes like surveillance and how people resist (or don’t resist) under a repressive government.

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