The Lives of Others best foreign language film
by Bénédicte Prot
26/02/2007 - Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's wish to see his first film, The Lives of Others [trailer, film focus] (see Focus), compensate for Germans' disappointment at last summer's Football World Cup by winning the title of "world cinema champions" came true last night at the Academy Awards ceremony.
The German helmer's film – about the strange link between an East German Stasi agent and the playwright he is investigating (subtly played by Ulrich Mühe and Sebastian Koch respectively) – received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
The title beat off competition from Denmark's After the Wedding [trailer, film focus] (see Focus), Algeria's Days of Glory [trailer, film focus], Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth [trailer] and Canada's Water. But the director would have had more to fear if Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima had been nominated in the category.
"This win is an honour and a great accolade for me, and for the numerous people who participated in making it happen by giving their best," said an emotional von Donnersmarck. "In recent years, German cinema has made enormous progress. I am very happy and grateful for my success, which still seems like a dream," he added.
The Lives of Others, which opened in the US through Sony Pictures Classics on February 9, has already grossed $800,000. This is an excellent result for a German film that now, with its Oscar in hand, will surely attract more viewers, both in the US and in the 30 territories to which Beta Cinema has sold the title.
(Translated from French)