"The Lives of Others" is a dramatic foreign film that is based on a true story. The story begins in East Berlin in the year 1984 when a Stasi Agent is assigned to spy on a successful playwright who has just written a hit play. The playwright is madly in love with a beautifull theater actress and a supporter of the local Communist Party.
It isn't until he discovers the truth about the treatment of blacklisted people by the state, seething quietly with rage he then decides to get help from West Berlin to assist him in smuggling a miniture typewriter into East Berlin. The playwright knows that all typewriters are registered by the state.
He wrote an article on why suicides in East Germany were not reported after the year 1977, finding that the term self murder was used instead by East German Authorities. Adding to the explosive information, the number of these so called self murders were reported in higher numbers in Hungary. When the article was printed in a West Berlin magazine it was not long after that the uproar happened in East Berlin.
Not that the article was leaked to the west, but that the writting of this article was never reported by the Stasi Agent in charge of spying on the playwright. Yet, the damage was already done and within four and a half years the inevitable collaspe of East Germany happens in November 1989.
In 1991, two years after the fall of East Berlin the former Stasi Agent was living quietly by keeping a low profile. One day while looking around inside a local bookstore he discovers a novel written by the playwright that he spied on seven years earlier. When he reads the dedication, only then to discover that his code number was used. It was clear to him then that he was recognized for not reporting the playwright when it mattered most.