September 17, 2007

The Lives of Others

"The Lives of Others," is the best film I've seen in years, probably one of the best films I've seen, ever. It's beautiful on so many levels, but what struck me was how tightly woven the story is. There isn't a single wasted moment; every scene, every shot, every line of dialogue propels the story forward.

I think we get used to thinking that a story either has a great plot or is "literary" in some sense -- a study in character, or language -- and can't be both. But great literature, of course, does it all, and "The Lives of Others" is that kind of story. It's simply brilliant.

On the website for the film (click on the title, above) there's an engaging interview with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, which begins with his lucid and (I thought) amazing description of the inspiration for the story (punch the tab marked "The Crew" and then hit "Interview with the Director").

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