Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)
I heard about this movie from Wm. F. Buckley's column. No matter what you think of his politics or worldview, you have to admit he is a very intelligent person and very cultured, and too, very old and has seen alot. So when he tells you it is one of the best movies he has ever seen, well, it might be worth seeing.
I did. The Lives of Others won the Academy Award for best foreign film. This movie is wonderful for many reasons. The movie is about life in East Germany (E. Berlin to be exact) in the about 5 year period before the wall fell, leading up to the fall and for a couple years after. Not to be trite but it is about love, ego, the arts, the transformational power of music, literature, man's nature. But mostly it is about how one can rise above one's circumstances and do the right thing despite personal fear and sacrifice. It is also about of course how fear can cause you to do the wrong thing.
It is too of course about the East Germany secret police and the corruption and power and control that government officials can have when this power is unchecked. It is also too, which I like alot, about the redemption period after the fall when the Stasi files were (are) made available to all.
If you want something meaningful to do today this might be it.