Left the house twice over the weekend. The first was to buy a juice, taco mix and some clearance shorts, the second time was to witness movie mastery. The film was The Lives of Others. De Campo and I loved the hell out of it. More than Le Grand Illusion, for moi. She dug it harder than Chinatown.
Initially tipped off by The New Yorker, after reading a stunning rave review by Anthony Lane, who’s basically your average cinephile trapped in the body of one of the most lissom and stylish prose writers around.
Written and directed by a 33 year-old stallion named Florian Henckel vons Dommersmark, in his debut, the movie is set in frigging, mid-80s Berlin, and it’s about the goddamn government placing a dashing playwright under surveillance (wiretaps, cameras, stake-outs, etc) for possible subversion. Stupendously great drama ensues.
The Lives of Others has something profound to say about all kinds of interesting things: big-city loneliness, lovelessness, paranoia (is it still paranoia if it’s warranted, or is that simply fear?), creating art in a torturous society governed by absolute power-trippers (creative compromise), not to mention comradeship, good will and straight-up, huge-hearted humanity.
Here’s a link to an amazing article about von Dommersmarck, giving excellent insight into his impressive outsized ambitions. I mean just look at the guy, his head is the size of a watermelon. He looks like Vincent D’Onofrio as a young Orson Welles.