The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) is a German drama exploring the impact of the East German socialist/surveillance state on its citizens. This film involves the artistic community (which was constantly under suspicion), the Stasi, and high government officials. It details the methods of both the dictatorship and subversives. The themes remind me that I still need to read "The Road to Serfdom". Throughout the movie, agents of the state constantly act above/outside of the law to manipulate others, both in the interests of the state and themselves. Almost everything is treated as a privilege to be doled out (or withheld) by government officials at their whim: drugs, travel, and careers. While romantic relationships are nominally not owned by the state, in practice they can be manipulated by the state's control of all material conditions of life, and the ability to arbitrarily detain individuals.
I was creeped out by the ways that our own society reflects the East German dictatorship. For starters, it's easy to suppress dissent when over half of the population has committed a crime. Furthermore, simply discussing unpopular ideas or past activities can have your visa denied.
The American state is only a shadow of the East German state, but the same tendencies are here, and we need to fight them every step of the way.