Lives Of Others Remake News
Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck recently appeared on NPR and gave some details about the upcoming American remake of his Foreign Language Oscar-winning Iron Curtain spy opus The Lives of Others. The original German film was set in 1980s East Germany when the Stasi (the East German secret police) were spying on everyone, particularly artists and writers suspected of promoting dangerous, pro-Western ideas. The director revealed that the Hollywood version (which he has nothing to do with) will change the setting to the near-future United States, where, apparently, the same thing happens. To me, that is one of those awful, awful, "only in Hollywood" ideas that gives the American film industry a bad name. By changing the setting to a speculative future, the politics will automatically take center stage. In the original movie, the very particular political landscape of the time serves as the background against which a very human story unfolds. It could already be read as a subtle allegory for our ever more security-conscious times if one were so inclined, but changing the setting will hit viewers over the head with that notion, turning subtext into text, and most likely drowning out the amazing, moving human drama at the movie's core.
Or maybe Hollywood will do a great job with it despite a lousy premise, but I somehow doubt it.
In the meantime, I encourage curious American viewers who have not yet done so to check out the amazing original film (which just came out on DVD), and not wait for the remake.