We finally got around to watching The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), on DVD this evening. It is excellently acted and directed and chilling, simply chilling. We have friends and acquaintances who were on the receiving end of such monitoring and surveillance. And those in power had subtle punishments down to a fine art. A Polish friend told me that school results were frequently manipulated – upwards, if the children’s parents were in good odour with the régime, downwards, if not. How dispiriting it must have felt! I recently saw a Czech animated film designed to explain to younger people what the Iron Curtain had been all about. The Lives of Others would be a good place to start.