The Lives of Others won the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year. It certainly deserved it.
At the heart of a movie is a Stasi officer spying on a playwrite. He eventually discovers the only reason he was ordered to spy on this guy is because the lead of the Stasi wants the writer's girlfriend as his own.
Ulrich Mühe plays the Stasi officer who spies on the couple. His performance is absolutely riveting. Beyond his masterful acting, he drew on the fact that he was spied on by the Stasi.
It was only after German reunification, that the actor discovered evidence in his Stasi file that he had been under surveillance since he graduated from school. He was being watched simply because he was an actor (he was aware he was under surveillance, but not to what extent). The file also listed informants against him that included four of his fellow actors in the East Berlin theatre and by his wife.
I read an article a few weeks ago that I wish I could find again. It was an interview with Ulrich about his days of being spied on. Friends quoted in the article mentioned how he worried about the Stasi so much that he gave himself stomach ulcers. Thos ulcers eventually turned into cancer. He died in July at the age of 54.
The movie was, to me, a love story almost. Between the playwrite and his girlfriend, and between the spy and the couple. It is beautifully written and the music is perfection.
I highly recommend this film. It is in German and just over two hours, but I promise the time will be well-spent.