Past Meetup

DAS LEBEN DER ANDEREN (2006) - Cinémathèque / Nighttown


Winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Saturday, July 20, at 7:05pm
Cleveland Cultural Gardens Film Fest
Germany, 2006, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (as well as the European Film Award for best picture), this gripping romantic thriller tells of a Stasi agent in 1984 East Germany who becomes personally involved in the lives of a playwright and his actress lover on whom he eavesdrops. Subtitles. 35mm. 137 min.


WHEN: Saturday, July 20, at 7:05pm

WHERE: Cleveland Cinematheque

WHO: Cine Arts Cleveland! and the German Language Group

DINNER/DISCUSSION: 9:30 p.m. at Nighttown

The Cleveland Cinematheque is located at 11141 East Boulevard just across the street from the Museum of Art and the Botanical Gardens. Enter off East Boulevard and drive to the free parking lot in the rear.

Purchase tickets at the door but arrive early to get the best seating.

Rotten Tomatoes rates this as 93-percent FRESH (click here (

Trailer (click here) (

9:30 p.m. After Film Discussion

Since film ends late, we’ll head over to Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road, 216.795.0550, for discussion, drinks and perhaps a late dinner. Metered parking is available in the rear with an entrance off Cedar just west of the club. Bring plenty of quarters. There may also be free street parking available on nearby side streets.


12387 Cedar Road

Cleveland Heights



The Lives of Others (German ( Das Leben der Anderen) is a 2006 German ( drama film, marking the feature film debut of filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (, about the monitoring of East Berlin ( by agents of the Stasi (, the GDR ('s secret police. It stars Ulrich Mühe ( as Stasi Captain Gerd Wiesler, Ulrich Tukur ( as his boss Anton Grubitz, Sebastian Koch ( as the playwright Georg Dreyman, and Martina Gedeck ( as Dreyman's lover, a prominent actress named Christa-Maria Sieland.

The film was released in Germany on 23 March 2006. At the same time, the screenplay was published by Suhrkamp Verlag ( The Lives of Others won the 2006 Academy Award ( for Best Foreign Language Film ( The film had earlier won seven Deutscher Filmpreis ( awards—including those for best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor, and best supporting actor—after setting a new record with 11 nominations.


In 1984 East Germany (, Stasi ( officer Hauptmann ( Gerd Wiesler is assigned to spy on playwright Georg Dreyman. Wiesler and his team bug the apartment, set up surveillance equipment in an attic and begin reporting Dreyman's activities. Dreyman had escaped state scrutiny due to his pro-Communist views and international recognition. Wiesler learns the real reason behind the surveillance: Minister of Culture Bruno Hempf covets Dreyman's girlfriend, actress Christa-Maria Sieland, and is trying to eliminate his rival. While Grubitz (Wiesler's boss) sees an opportunity for advancement, Wiesler (an idealist) is horrified. Through his surveillance, he knows Dreyman and Sieland are in love. Hempf uses Sieland's prescription-drug addiction to coerce her. After discovering Sieland's relationship with Hempf, Dreyman implores her not to meet him again. Sieland refuses, fleeing to a nearby bar where Wiesler (posing as a fan) reminds her of her talent; she returns home.

A Communist, Dreyman becomes disillusioned with the treatment of his colleagues by the state. At his birthday party, his friend Albert Jerska (a blacklisted ( theatrical director) gives him sheet music ( for Sonate vom Guten Menschen (Sonata For a Good Man). Shortly afterwards, Jerska hangs himself; Wiesler is moved by the tragedy. Dreyman decides to publish an anonymous article on the East German suicide rate in Der Spiegel ( No suicide rates in the GDR have been published since 1977 (that year, East Germany was second in European suicides only to Hungary). Since all East German typewriters ( are registered, Dreyman uses a smuggled miniature typewriter which he hides. Before talking openly in his apartment, Dreyman and his friends test whether the flat is bugged by feigning an attempt to smuggle one of their blacklisted friends through the Berlin Wall ( Wiesler does not alert the police, and the conspirators believe they are safe.

Dreyman's article is published, enraging the authorities. From an agent at Der Spiegel, the Stasi obtain a copy of the manuscript (typed on a red ribbon). Hempf, livid at being jilted by Sieland, orders Grubitz to destroy her. Sieland is arrested when she tries to buy drugs at her dentist's office, and blackmailed into revealing Dreyman's authorship of the article. When the Stasi search his apartment, however, they do not find the typewriter. Grubitz then orders Wiesler to interrogate Sieland again, warning that failure will cost them both. Sieland recognizes Wiesler as the man from the bar, and tells him where the typewriter is hidden.

Grubitz and the Stasi return to Dreyman's apartment, but the typewriter is gone; Wiesler had already seized the evidence. When she sees Dreyman's face as he realizes she informed on him, a guilt-stricken Sieland runs into the street and stops in front of an oncoming truck. Wiesler reaches the dying Sieland first, beginning to tell her about the typewriter before an inconsolable Dreyman cradles her in his arms. Grubitz informs Dreyman that the investigation is over, and tells Wiesler his career is over as well. As he leaves, Grubitz discards a newspaper announcing Mikhail Gorbachev ( as the new leader of the Soviet Union (

In November 1989, Wiesler is steaming open letters in a windowless office when a co-worker (also banished by Grubitz earlier in the film) tells him about the fall of the Berlin Wall (; Wiesler and his co-workers silently get up and leave their office. Two years later, Hempf and Dreyman have a chance encounter; Dreyman asks Hempf why he was never under surveillance, and Hempf tells him he was monitored. After uncovering surveillance equipment in his apartment, Dreyman goes to the Stasi Archives ( to read the files on his activities. He reads that Sieland was released just before the second search, and could not have removed the typewriter. Seeing a fingerprint in red ink on the final typewritten report, he realizes that Stasi agent HGW XX/7 had concealed Dreyman's authorship of the suicide article and removed the typewriter before the search team arrived. Dreyman finds Wiesler delivering mail; he momentarily considers approaching him, but decides against it.

On his rounds two years later, Wiesler passes a bookstore window display promoting Dreyman's new novel, Sonate vom Guten Menschen. He goes inside, opens a copy of the book and discovers it is dedicated "To HGW XX/7, with gratitude". Wiesler buys the book; when the sales clerk asks if he wants it gift-wrapped he responds, "No, it's for me."


The film was received with widespread acclaim. Film aggregate ( site Rotten Tomatoes ( reports a 93% "Fresh" rating, based on 142 positive reviews out of 152.[8] ( A review in Daily Variety by Derek Elley noted the "slightly stylized look" of the movie created by "playing up grays and dour greens, even when using actual locations like the Stasi's onetime HQ in Normannenstrasse."[9] ( Time ( magazine's Richard Corliss ( named the film one of the Top 10 Movies of 2007, ranking it at #2. Corliss praised the film as a "poignant, unsettling thriller."[10] ([11] (

Film critic Roger Ebert ( gave the film four stars, describing it as "a powerful but quiet film, constructed of hidden thoughts and secret desires."[12] ( A.O. Scott, reviewing the film in The New York Times (, wrote that Lives is well-plotted, and added, "The suspense comes not only from the structure and pacing of the scenes, but also, more deeply, from the sense that even in an oppressive society, individuals are burdened with free will. You never know, from one moment to the next, what course any of the characters will choose."[13] ( Los Angeles Times ( movie critic Kenneth Turan agreed that the dramatic tension of the film comes from being "meticulously plotted", and that "it places its key characters in high-stakes predicaments where what they are forced to wager is their talent, their very lives, even their souls." The movie "convincingly demonstrates that when done right, moral and political quandaries can be the most intensely dramatic dilemmas of all."[14] (

American commentator John Podhoretz ( called the film "one of the greatest movies ever made, and certainly the best film of this decade."[15] ( William F. Buckley, Jr. (,_Jr.) wrote in his syndicated column that after the film was over, "I turned to my companion and said, 'I think that is the best movie I ever saw.'"[16] ( John J. Miller ( of National Review Online ( named it #1 in his list of 'The Best Conservative Movies' of the last 25 years.[17] (


Ostberlin Mitte der 80er Jahre. Als Verhörspezialist wird Stasi-Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) selbst von den eigenen Leuten gefürchtet. Nun setzt ihn sein Vorgesetzter und Jugendfreund Grubitz (Ulrich Tukur) auf den der Linienuntreue verdächtigen Theaterregisseur Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) an. Was wie ein Routinefall beginnt, entwickelt sich zum Wendepunkt in Wieslers Leben. Nicht ganz unschuldig daran: Dreymans lebenslustige Hauptdarstellerin, die auch vom Kultusminister begehrte Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck). Nicht von Ostalgie, sondern von der Verlorenheit des Individuums im totalitären System erzählt das sauber recherchierte Drama von Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
Mittwoch, den 26.06./03.07.2013 jeweils um 20.30 Uhr im Kino Casablanca.


Kino in Topform
Ein riskantes Spiel beginnt, der "operative Vorgang" gerät aus dem Ruder. Politik und Individuum prallen aufeinander, und das System schlägt zurück. Keine ostalgische Geschichtslektion, sondern ein hochgradig spannendes, mitten ins Herz treffendes Drama um Liebe, Leidenschaft und Mut, um die ewige Faszination von Freiheit. Das ist deutsches Kino in Topform, mit brillanten Darstellern - dafür gab es zurecht den Oscar als bester ausländischer Film.

D: Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch
R: F. Henckel v. Donnersmarck | Drama | FSK 12 | 137 min | D 2005

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