In America, people look back on the 80s as a more frivolous time, filled with leg warmers and John Hughes movies. But the citizens of East Berlin had more pressing matters to think about: a government which monitored their every move.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Department of Modern Languages showed the first film in their Foreign Language Film Series, “Das Leben der Anderen,” or “The Lives of Others,” which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. The movie examines both the workings of the Berlin secret police, called the Stasi, and the citizens they spied on.
The movie examines all the things students wished they had learned about in their history classes. The workings of the Stasi put a James Bond movie to shame. They gathered their intelligence through a mixture of stereotypical spy gadgets and outright blackmail of their citizens. In those days, anyone – a brother, wife, childhood best friend – could have been a spy for the Stasi. People would never fully speak their minds because they never knew if the government had ears nearby.
“The Lives of Others” is an intelligent, compelling film that would be a delight for anyone interested in history or German culture to see. However, there are plenty of other aspects to the movie, such as romance, political intrigue and good old-fashioned spy work that makes it engaging to those students who tend to fall asleep in West Civ class.
For those who missed this film, never fear; it was only the first in the Foreign Language Film Series. The next movie, a German film called “Solino,” will be shown on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in Lynch Auditorium.