Most good films set in Germany have an almost tactile feel to the dank dreariness of the surroundings. Whether it is the graffiti that blankets the exteriors of East Berlin buildings, the war torn post WWI and WWII bombed out landscape, or the sterile and modern big cities, Germany always feels like a place one needs to escape. “The Live of Others,” is no exception, but it is also the most riveting film to emerge from the country since “Run Lola Run.” Set in 1984, the story is a tale about the communist “Stasi” East German government intelligence agency who spent quite a bit of time spying on the artistic community in the year before the wall fell. But like Coppola’s “The Conversation” much of the action takes place through the headphones of a lonely Stasi agent who listens from a dark attic a few floors above to the lives of a famous playwright and his beautiful girlfriend. First portrayed as an efficient loyal comrade intent on doing his job as thoroughly as possible, over the course of the film this solitary man falls for the people he set out to trap. Ultimately this is a story about love, longing and loneliness and the brutal constraints of a society trapped on the wrong of a wall. In the end the film hopes to prove the point that people can and do change, even though when it seems the least likely.