The Lives of Others won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2007. If you have never seen it, you simply must. It is a political thriller of the first order. The story revolves around small private decisions made quietly and secretly to resist evil, always at great personal risk. The main character is a surveillance officer of the Stasi, the East German secret police. His target is a writer. Over time, humanity overcomes totalitarianism. It is a story of a man caught in something he once believed in, in a bureaucracy that provided his worldview, yet no longer does.
Nearly all of Britain knows of the Up series, but you will have to hunt for the DVDs here in America. The Michael Apted-directed documentaries are based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s statement “give me the child until he is seven years old and I will give you the man.” The series began filming a group of children in 1964 and has revisited most of the group every seven years since then. The series is currently on 56 Up, which aired last May in Britain. Whether or not the child at seven locks in a certain fate, it is undeniable that those values and behaviors during the formative years presented in the 7 Up and 14 Up installments seem to have followed the subjects over their lifetimes.