GERMANY – 2012 – 100 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
A FILM BY CHRISTIAN PETZOLD
Summer, 1980. Barbara, a doctor, has applied for an exit visa from the GDR (East Germany). Now, as punishment, she has been transferred from Berlin to a small hospital out in the country, far from everything. Jörg, her lover from the West, is already planning her escape.
Barbara waits, keeping to herself. The new apartment, the neighbors, summertime, the countryside – none of that means anything to her. Working as a pediatric surgeon under her new boss Andre, she is attentive when it comes to the patients, but quite distanced toward her colleagues. Her future, she feels, will begin later.
But Andre confuses her. His confidence in her professional abili- ties, his caring attitude, his smile. Why does he cover for her when she helps the young runaway Sarah? Does he have an as- signment to keep track of her? Is he in love? But as the day of her planned escape quickly approaches, Barbara starts to lose control. Over herself, her plans, over love.
Christian Petzold is one of the leading directors in New German cinema. The German Film Critics Association has twice awarded him Best Film awards, for the urban drama GHOSTS and THE STATE I AM IN. He was twice named Best Director at the German Film Awards, for the psychological drama WOLFSBURG and THE STATE I AM IN. His first fiction feature, 2000's political drama THE STATE I AM IN, also won Best Screenplay at Thessaloniki (Greece) and the Grand Prize at Valenciennes (France). Petzold has also received much acclaim for the made- for-TV features SOMETHING TO REMIND ME (TOTER MANN, 2002), Die Beischlafdiebin (1998) and CUBA LIBRE (1995). Born in 1960, Petzold studied German and Theater Studies at the Free University in Berlin, then graduated from the German Film & Television Academy (DFFB) in 1994.
We are easily lulled into captivation by the troubling tranquility and the beauty of small moments Petzold creates in this brilliant film."
- CULT MONTREAL
"Petzold brings things to a satisfying climax while maintaining the tension of such a sinister environment, where emotions and motives must be suppressed out of self-preservation. Along the way, he brings thought-provoking nuance to an era that is too often portrayed with stereotypes and melodrama."
- MONTREAL GAZETTE
"...un portrait fin et subtil..."
- LA PRESSE
"Le film, rigoureusement écrit et mis en scène, sur les thèmes de l’aliénation et de l’enfermement, avance ainsi, par micro-événements et petites touches, vers un dénouement sublime, à la fois ouvert et fermé."
- LE DEVOIR
"BARBARA est une originale incursion dans un univers totalitaire étouffant, dont l’intrigue, habilement construite, s’appuie sur une brillante direction d’acteurs."
- REVUE SÉQUENCES
"...une remarquable leçon de cinéma."
- 24 IMAGES
"Nina Hoss qui impressionne par sa composition d'une puissance absolue."
An interview with Nina Hoss
- NOW MAGAZINE
"Petzold has crafted as suspenseful a film as any this year — a thriller based on sharp sound cues, furtive glances, and rich characters who keep their motivations close to their chests."
"The film’s depiction of East Germany is hardly sympathetic, but Barbara’s predicament clearly is"
- THE NATIONAL POST
"BARBARA is a deliberately paced, quiet film that uses the film’s rural, seaside setting to great advantage. Hoss is mesmerizing as a woman who holds it all together to the point of losing herself."
- THE TORONTO STAR
"BARBARA shows us grey world can contain colour"
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"Smart, engaging and unnerving, BARBARA is a fascinating portrait of a woman faced with a life altering decision under the deadliest of circumstances. Nina Hoss proves that she deserves a place in the conversation of the finest female actresses working today and continues to shine working with Petzold."
NNNN! - " She’s (Nina Hoss) the whole show here, and she’s amazing, carrying herself with an impenetrable rigidity. It’s a risky choice to introduce your protagonist as an unreadable cipher, but Hoss is up to the challenge. We can’t stop looking at her."
- NOW MAGAZINE
"What Petzold has done is craft a subtle character piece about the nature of bonding and connection in an environment where trust is impossible."
"Deeply moving and humanistic, BARBARA concentrates on the small heroism of one person rather than looking accusingly at a failed ideology."
- TWITCH FILM
"...another great movie by Petzold"
"...the most realistic portrayals of self-discover in recent memory. It’s never showy or grandiose in where it’s headed and there’s no degree of predictability to what happens because Hoss every wisely plays Barbara as a petulant, stuck up little shit, even as her slight transformations begin. There’s no full degree of self-actualization that leads to her ultimate act of true defiance at the end. It feels like something that just happened in the moment. It would be a shame to spoil the end of the film, but it’s something that offers up a great discussions about the true motives of human nature and what would have happened under different circumstances. It’s a redemptive arc that feels surprisingly open ended and one that sticks with the viewer far longer than any grandstanding ever could."
- DORK SHELF