Alfonso Cuarón was not bound by any of the elements that people normally associate with the science fiction genre. Children of Men established a vision of the future that is much more like the present than some futuristic time.
The Lives of Others is fiction intertwined with history. While the narrative is a personal story about two characters, Georg Dreyman and Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler, it’s impossible to imagine the film set in any other place or time. Yet there is a timeless quality to the film. The Lives of Others is a warning about the danger of allowing the government to have too much power.