Sunday, November 9, 2014

"Two Lives" Asks the Question: Do You Really Know the One You Love?


It's difficult for non-Germans to fully appreciate the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall. November 9th marks the 25th anniversary of the Wall's demise; and in many ways, it signaled the end of the Cold War and the fall of Communism. During the 20th century, Germany suffered through two world wars, Nazism, and Communism.

Two Lives (aka Zwei Leben) (2012) is a German/Norwegian production and is available on Netflix streaming. It's based on actual facts and captures the multi-faceted perplexities faced by Germany during the last century. Two Lives provides plenty of suspense, surprises, and history to keep you absorbed until its fateful and emotional conclusion. It blends two dark chapters in 20th-century German history. One chapter involving the Lebensborn program that paired SS officers and Aryan woman to produce "racially pure" babies for the Fatherland. The second, a more recent chapter, concerns East Germany's notorious Security Service (Stasi), and its exploitation of orphaned children. As this mystery slowly unravels, the movie takes on a personal and tragic dimension, where there are no evil people, just victims of a repressive society. 

Two Lives stars the superb Juliane Köhler and the iconic Liv Ullmann. It is far and away, the best movie I've seen this year, and a fitting movie to see on the anniversary of the Wall's collapse.  

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