The Lives of Others (2006) directed by Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck

Piers Handling's choice of one to watch
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Piers Handling selected Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck as one of the best emerging film directors working today and chose the film The Lives of Others (2006) as an example that best represents his work.

 

The Lives of Others

East Berlin, November 1984. Five years before its downfall, the former East German government ensures its claim to power with a ruthless system of control and surveillance. Party Loyalist Captain Gerd Wiesler hopes to boost his career when given the job of collecting evidence against playwright Georg Dreynman and his girlfriend Christa-Maria. What he doesn’t anticipate, however, is that immersion in the world of the target has effects on the surveillance agent as well. Wiesler becomes acutely aware of the meagerness of his own existence and discovers a new way of life that he has trouble resisting.

“Their journeys express something deep within each of us: the desire to do the right thing, and the realisation that we may not. Cutting deeply into this compromised society, Henckel von Donnersmarck explores what it means to take responsibility for one’s actions. The Lives of Others is a profoundly moral film, laying bare the differences between those who compromise and those who do not. It stands as a stark warning to those democracies who currently employ surveillance methods in the name of state security.”

Piers Handling, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival


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