kharin and I went to see Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) last night. As a film about Stasi surveillance, interrogation and informants, it's billed as the antidote to Good Bye Lenin! - a comparison which works in some ways but not in others. The storyline is cleverly plotted, with ambivalent characters of questionable motivation, but in its own way it seems to detach from reality every bit as much as the Ostalgie gorilla. On the one hand, the idea that a disaffected operative would consider subverting the State surveillance machine is reasonable, but on the other, allowing such operational freedom to a single individual seems implausible. Nevertheless, a certain suspension of reality is always appropriate, and there are a number of points of real suspense, where a number of outcomes would seem plausible. The truisms on interrogation uttered by Wiesler at the start of the film are disquieting, and used to effect, as are various other symmetries, at pivotal points in the story; the burden of the loss of dignity for various characters is poignant. The tidying of loose ends is neat but perhaps a little saccharine and not entirely convincing, leading one to wonder to what extent the citizens of the DDR are reconciled, or whether they may still be in denial.