The Lives of Others, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, focuses on the cultural scene in East Berlin during the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the middle of the 1980s. It illuminates the corrupt system during the communist regime of the GDR. It was a regime which was characterised by espionage and inhumane and morally doubtful acts. In the film, the Stasi commissar Gerd Wiesler, a faithful supporter of the totalitarian regime, has been instructed to observe the popular artistic couple Christa-Maria Sieland and Georg Dreyman who work at a theatre and devote their life to cultural and intellectual exchange.
By eavesdropping on the couple, Wiesler penetrates into the lives of the ‘others’. Suddenly the loyal communist is faced with a forbidden and for him inaccessible world – a world full of free spirit, passion, challenge and diversity. Much of the film was shot on location in East Berlin in the original settings, for example, at the former Stasi prison ‘Hohenschönhausen’ (which is now a memorial place for the victims of the communist tyranny in Germany) and at the former Ministry of State Security. The location shots of Dreyman’s apartment were filmed on Wedekindstrasse in Berlin-Friedrichshain.