Film Shorts

On The Town | Valerie Crawford-Pfannhauser | September 2008

Das Leben der Anderen 

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), directed by 33 year old German Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, beginning a new chapter in film history.

In an unmistakable reference to the Orwellian dystopian vision of the future, Das Leben is set in 1984, a time when the Stasi (secret police), employing more than 90,000 personnel, made it their business to spy on their own citizens. The film suggests that Germans are now ready to take a harder look at this era, a huge departure from what has been dubbed as ‘Ostalgie’ – the fond remembrance of the good old/bad old days of the East, as in Good Bye Lenin, that suggest that the communist state has been misunderstood. In Das Leben der Anderen, to the contrary, the only misunderstanding would be to think the bad old days were anything other than bad.

Cast includes Captain Gert Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) as cold-eyed soulless domestic surveillance expert. Lt. Col. Anton Grubitz (Ulrich Tukur) is very much a political animal and an unsophisticated ‘schmoozer’. Minister Bruno Hempf (Thomas Thieme) is a repulsive figure, willing to use the system to achieve his own perverse gratification. All three men attend a premiere of a new play by Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), one of the country’s top playwrights, starring his beautiful mistress and the darling of the East German stage, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck).

A powerful film of enduring importance. Recipient of four honors at the Bavarian Film Awards and seven at the German Film Awards, as well as an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.


Through Sept. 8

May be extended

Gloriette Kino Center

14., Linzer Straße 2

(01) 985 26 67 


Die Fälscher 

Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiters) directed by Austrian filmmaker Stefan Ruzowitzky is the tale of the largest counterfeiting operation in history. Recreating the wartime money factory set up by the Nazis using concentration camp labour, the story scrutinizes the moral quandary of complicity through a gripping narrative and strongly developed characters.

Better casting or better performances would be hard to imagine in this film, a successful balance between art house seriousness and commercial appeal. Die Fälscher was won the 2007 German Film Prize for best Supporting Actor to Daved Streslow, and the Oscar for the Best Foreign Film. The screenplay of Die Fälscher is based on real events as recorded in the memoirs of Adolph Burger, Des Teufels Werkstatt - The Devil’s Workshop (1951). Burger himself is a central character, a concentration camp detainee forced to take part in Operation Bernhard, a secret Nazi programme aimed at filling the Nazi coffers and destabilizing the economies of Britain and America with counterfeit currency.

Die Fälscher explores questions of loyalty and the price one is willing to pay for survival, through a well-observed interplay between the two leads and the Nazi officials in charge of them: Austrian super star Karl Markovics plays the charming rogue and gambler Salomon ‘Sally’ Sorowitsch, cast in strong contrast to printing expert Adolf Burger (August Diehl) with a wife in Auschwitz, the conscience of the film.

The line between good and evil is not absolute but infinitely blurred in this film, and we are offered no convenient solution to the moral dilemma at its heart.


Aeast till Sept. 9

Check for extension

Gloriette Kino Center

14., Linzer Straße 2

(01) 985 26 67

Kepler Kino Center

10., Keplerplatz 15

(01) 604 31 90 

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