Walled in

The winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Lives of Others, looks at a political system kept in power by a police agency that has absolute power to keep any citizen under constant surveillance. The ingeniously titled film, written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, is the first major German movie to dramatize the convoluted machinations of the Stasi, the East German spy apparatus that served as “the sword and shield of the Communist Party”—an ironically appropriate motto, since in practice that sword was employed against the citizens of the German Democratic Republic.


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