Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
Local opening date: 3/2/2007
Review by Martha Baker
Sometimes it's worth seeing a movie just for its contrast to another, and that is the case with The Good Shepherd. Compare it to The Lives of Others, and you will easily see why one works only superficially, and the other works vertically as well as horizontally. The Lives of Others succeeds because it sinks deeply into significance as a film, not only because of the story it tells but of the characters it describes and the actors' solid, stirring ways of bringing them to life.

The story is set in the year 1984, significant as more than a title and a symbol. This is the time four years before the Berlin Wall fell between East and West Germany. In 1984, East Germany is the land of surveillance both wide and deep. Spying could sometimes even be funny, depending.

The story: A successful dramatist, Georg Greyman, lives with the actress Christa-Maria Sieland. They are considered stars of the state, apolitical intellectuals rather than anti-Socialists. Nevertheless, they are under surveillance because the Minister of Culture gets the hots for Christa. So he sics a secret service agent, Gerd Wiesler, on the couple. What the pedestrian minister does not bank on is Wiesler's fascination with the world of art, with the draw of culture, with the facets of characters more vivid than gray in real life as well as in their roles in and around the stage.

Wiesler, a classmate of his boss, Anton Grubnitz, has been a successful instructor of other spies, teaching them to monitor voices and actions meticulously. Grubnitz assigns him the case of the playwright and his lover, but keeps an eye on him. Wiesler feigns full surveillance for the government when, in fact, he is watching Dreyman for his own reasons. Wiesler become an actor when he interrogates the dramatist; he becomes a writer, too, when he makes up his blow-by-blow reports. He becomes an artist without ever changing his face.


The Lives of Others
, written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, shifts to 1988 and into the Nineties as the dramatist tries to determine who his savior was and how best to thank him. The end is so touching and credible that it recolors the whole film. More than anything, it is a pleasure to watch Ulrich Muhe as the agent and Sebastian Koch as the sensual, sexy dramatist with integrity. Von Donnersmarck captures the greyness of East Germany in the Eighties through concrete, jackets and souls.

Along the way, Von Donnersmarck quotes a tyrant, who suggested that if he listened to Bach, he would never finish the Revolution. The Lives of Others is a paean to that thinking.

 

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

Graham Pagano

Mon June 23
Graham Pagano's debut album Quit Complaining is a high charged mix of old and new music. his old blues and classic country feel blended up with a rock and roll attitude makes this stripped down album explode…

KDHX Recommends

July
Saturday
26

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014 Harvest Sessions welcomes Genevieve -- featuring Rebecca Ryan and Leslie Sanazaro -- to the West Pool Pavilion for a morning of acoustic music. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers'...


July
Sunday
27

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars for a family matinee Sunday, July 27 at Noon. Kids under two are free. $8 advance tickets on sale now. Tickets available at the door for $10. Kids under two are free. For...


July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

9 users and 14065 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook