I just got home from Johannesburg, South Africa from the 5th World Summit on Media and Children and I hope to be sharing some information with you soon about that. But I wanted to take a moment and tell you about one of the finest films I have seen in a very long time: The Lives of Others. It won the Oscar for best foreign language film this year; German with English subtitles.
Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mule) is a Stassi agent in East Germany in the 1980’s. He is asked to bug the apartment of a playright, who is loyal to the government, so that the minister of culture can have the writer’s girlfriend when he is arrested and exiled (or worse.)
The previews for this film give no hint of the depth and transcendence of this film: how art can transform a human being and inspire deeds of generosity that seem unimaginable in such a repressed and corrupt regime. The only reason I went to see it was because a colleague said that after seeing it he was glad it won the Oscar over “Water”, which I thought (and still think) deserved the award. But I am glad “The Lives of Others” did win; it is an intense, amazing film. Wiesler’s interior transformation is “seen” in his eyes, his gaze, for outwardly his life, that seemed to have had meaning, slowly empties as it is filled with his humanity. I am pleased that “the Academy” saw that “The Lives of Others” is so deeply meaningful. Ergo, bravo!
At one point, as Wiesler is listening, the playright, the artist, sits at his piano and plays “A Sonata for a Good Man.” The music is beautiful and he says to his girlfriend, “I don’t think it is possible for someone to hear this music and not be a good man.”
If you like to savor films, don’t miss this one.