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Berlin on Screen: The Lives of Others

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The films nominated for this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar feature locales spanning the globe. They include India (where the playwright debuts his latest work—is prominently featured.

Scattered throughout are shots of the gray buildings of Karl-Marx-Allee and, much later, shops along Ku’damm. The stark Soviet War Memorial (Schönholzer Heide) in Pankow sees a pivotal liaison between the lead character and a West German contact.

The most eye-opening scenes transpire on the film’s primary set, the Stasi headquarters and prison. Turned into the Stasi Museum following the collapse of East Germany, these rooms are a perfect place to catch a chilling glimpse of life under strict paranoia. At the museum, visitors learn about actual interrogation techniques as well as the last days of the Stasi.

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