A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
Gerd Wiesler is an officer with the Stasi, the East German secret police. The film begins in 1984 when Wiesler attends a play written by Georg Dreyman, who is considered by many to be the ultimate example of the loyal citizen. Wiesler has a gut feeling that Dreyman can't be as ideal as he seems, and believes surveillance is called for. The Minister of Culture agrees but only later does Wiesler learn that the Minister sees Dreyman as a rival and lusts after his partner Christa-Maria. The more time he spends listening in on them, the more he comes to care about them. The once rigid Stasi officer begins to intervene in their lives, in a positive way, protecting them whenever possible. Eventually, Wiesler's activities catch up to him and while there is no proof of wrongdoing, he finds himself in menial jobs - until the unbelievable happens.Written by
The German DVD of this film was recalled due to some statements director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made in his audio commentary about the alleged activities of politician Gregor Gysi and actress Jenny Gröllmann as unofficial agents (IM) for the "Stasi" (secret police of former East Germany). New and old revisions of the DVD can be distinguished by a marking on the back spine (old retail/rental: Z4/Z4R, new retail/rental: Z4A/Z4S). See more »
When uncle Hauser is calling from Berlin (West) you can see a bus from the public transportation service that was not introduced until the mid or late 1990s, passing the phone booth. See more »
Stand still. Eyes to the floor.
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The US version features a written prologue in English, explaining the historical context of the film. See more »
A German Expat Feels his first pang of forlorn German patriotism
This film utterly blew me away. Full disclosure: I'm a German born (Munich born) German-American who left Germany in 1986, before the wall came down. I cannot describe the feeling I felt as the last few words were spoken on the screen. I could not look at the subtitles ( a habit of speaking two languages ) because my eyes were so full of tears. I cannot tell you how I was so sorry I did not experience the wall coming down. This film healed a wound that may have been left by the nightmare years of 1938-1945, my own great uncle being a Nazi war criminal, convicted in Nuremberg in 1946. Yes, we are mensch too. We have the potential for greatness (of character) in spite of our history. Thank you Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, for giving me back half of my lost soul in this single "es ist für mich". I am reminded again that the difference between ourselves and beasts is that we have a choice.
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