Tuesday, January 21, 2014


A beautiful, dedicated, talented, and somewhat harsh physician (Nina Hoss) is relocated from East Berlin to a small pastoral town and kept under constant government surveillance after an committing an unstated criminal offense. There she awaits deliverance from her prominent West German boyfriend (Mark Waschke) while gradually coming out of her shell and becoming involved with a fellow doctor (Ronald Zehrfeld) and the plight of her patients. Barbara is a film that is so involving, so sumptuously photographed, so well acted, and just generally excellent on so many levels that it makes you angry that there was virtually no distribution (it played in town for a weekend) nor awards notice nor word of mouth to speak of and that luckily you caught it (on a whim and after much debate) at home on DVD. Watching Christian Petzold's quietly observant picture, I was reminded of The Lives of Others, another superb, emotionally devastating foreign film detailing life behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s.