Tuesday, November 06, 2007

recently viewed and recommended

last saturday night a group of us gathered to gorge on sausage and cabbage, one of pix's finest dishes, and watch the lives of others, a german film that was awarded the best foreign film oscar in 2007.

the narrative arc of the lives of others focuses on a well respected german state security agent who helps incite and subsequently conducts extensive surveillance on a celebrated east german playwright in hopes of exposing the artist's disloyalty and securing the affections of the artist's girl.

however, as the agent sits in the attic above the artist's apartment, constantly listening to the artists' conversations and carefully preparing his reports, he slowly begins to empathize with his subjects and ultimately identifies with them to such a degree that his loyalties are severely tested.

the lives of others is a magnificent film which will undoubtedly mean many things to many people. however, as i watched this film i could not help but think of it as a parable that emphasizes the significance of careful listening and warns the viewer of the unexpected consequences that arise from truly identifying with the other.

i often wish that i had better listening skills and found it easier to empathize with others. however, after watching the film, i have to wonder whether i am capable and willing to face the manifold consequences that result from such careful listening.

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