The Lives of Others

March 3, 2010

I enjoyed the film “The Lives of Others”  on BBC FOUR last night.

And to my surprise and delight it’s available on BBC iPlayer.

It reminded me of “Hidden”. But I didn’t like “Hidden”. I thought it was pompous and heavy handed.

The Lives of Others seemed like a better, more lighter touch exploration of some of the same questions around surviellance and perception.

Hidden was about video – looking – while The Lives of Others was about bugging – listening -which may explain why it felt more intelligent.

I liked Hidden more as a portrait of a marriage than a political allegory.  There was also a double meaning in the Lives of Others. It’s a humanist fable about the redeeming power of art and brotherhood.  But what’s the price to paid for these heroic (and male) notions?

Anway I thought it was good. So you’ve got seven days.

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2 Responses to “The Lives of Others”


  1. Sorry Nick, but we’ll have to have this out over that pint in a couple of weeks. Hidden is the most remarkable new film I’ve seen in a decade. Why can’t it both be about a marriage and a political allegory – and many other things besides. It is exquisitely, beautifully ambiguous.

    The Life of Others made me very angry indeed – I remember ranting all the way home from the cinema. Yes, it had some good performances (Martina Gedeck is especially good – if not as good as she was as Ulika Meinhof) and the atmosphere was compelling (although not as shocking as the depiction of Rumania in Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days). But I just didn’t buy the redemption stuff. It was humanist whimsy at its worst. A weird kind of feel good movie for people who don’t like feel good movies.

    Like I say, handbags at the ready for that pint…

    S

  2. nickreynoldsatwork Says:

    In a way I agree with you about The Lives of Others – it’s really a love story (it’s always about a woman isn’t it). It felt like a very German kind of fable. I viewed it in an ironic and rather detached way and enjoyed it. (Mind you when I saw Clockwork Orange I thought it was hilarious so maybe I’m in danger of losing touch with reality entirely).

    But I found it had a lighter touch than Hidden, which I found clunkily obvious and far too much in love with itself. I could predict what was going to happen in Hidden.

    We should do a Harry Hill. Which film was more complacent and middle class? Fight!


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