Stasi drama ‘Lives’ tops Lola awards

Pic looks at East Germany's Stasi secret police

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Writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s gripping East German-era drama “The Lives of Others” (Das leben der anderen) swept the 56th German Film Awards on Friday, winning seven Lolas, including picture, director, script, cinematographer and actor.

Pic offers a hard-hitting look at communist East Germany’s dreaded Stasi secret police, whose widespread domestic surveillance of citizens created a climate of fear and distrust at all levels of society for 40 years, until its power ended abruptly with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“The Lives of Others,” released locally by Buena Vista Intl., has enjoyed rave reviews and box office success, garnering nearly $7 million at the box office. Pic had been the odds-on favorite, and it’s sure to get a healthy boost at the box office thanks to its Lola wins.

“Others” thesp Ulrich Muehe, who plays a Stasi agent who begins to question his work, took the top actor prize, while Ulrich Tukur won supporting actor kudos.

Hans-Christian Schmid’s fact-based exorcist drama “Requiem” picked up five awards, including actress and supporting actress for Sandra Hueller and Imogen Kogge, respectively. Pic also took a runner-up Silver Lola for best film, as did Detlev Buck’s gritty urban drama “Tough Enough” (Knallhart).

Editor Dirk Grau, who won last year for “Rhythm Is It!,” picked up another Lola this year for “Tough Enough.”

While “The Lives of Others” has received wide acclaim and its Lola wins came as no surprise, the German Film Academy did get a few knocks from local critics for ignoring more mainstream productions, such as Hermine Huntgeburth’s “The White Masai,” Germany’s biggest box office hit last year, which failed to get a single nom despite strong reviews and its huge popularity.

The Federal Office for Cultural & Media Affairs sponsored the event, which dishes out some $3.7 million in prizes.

Comedian and filmmaker Michael Herbig (“Spaceship Surprise — Period I”) hosted the ceremony, held this year at Berlin’s Berliner Palais am Funkturm, where some 2,000 guests turned out.

Show aired on pubcaster ARD.

And the winners are…

Film
“The Lives of Others,” Gold Lola
“Tough Enough,” Silver
“Requiem,” Silver

Director
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, “The Lives of Others”

Actress
Sandra Hueller, “Requiem”

Actor
Ulrich Muehe, “The Lives of Others”

Supporting Actress
Imogen Kogge, “Requiem”

Supporting Actor
Ulrich Tukur, “The Lives of Others”

Documentary Film
“Lost Children,” producer Oliver Stoltz

Children’s Film
“The Cave of the Yellow Dog,” producer Stephan Schesch

Cinematography
Hagen Bogdanski, “The Lives of Others”

Editing
Dirk Grau, “Tough Enough”

Production Design
Silke Buhr, “The Lives of Others”

Costumes
Bettina Marx, “Requiem”

Music
Bert Wrede, “Tough Enough”

Sound
Lars Ginzel, Dirk Jacob, Marc Parisotto, Martin Steyer, “Requiem”

Script
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, “The Lives of Others”

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