Set in East Berlin in 1984, The Lives of Others is a political thriller that exists on a human scale. It tells the story of a celebrated playwright and theater actress and the Stasi agent enlisted to spy on them.
The suspense in this film is crafted from the smallest of details – chance meetings at drab cocktail bars, an eye blinking behind a peephole, a Brecht book that has gone missing. It is with these everyday things that the characters’ internal conflicts begin to emerge and as LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan observes they are then forced “to wager their talent, their lives, even their souls.”
I love sharing this film with students because it portrays creative practice and free will against a backdrop of censorship and surveillance.
-Jessica Cannon, Instructor, ADHT & Foundation