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Barbara (I) (2012)

 -  Drama  -  8 March 2012 (Germany)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,777 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 31 user | 172 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

A doctor working in 1980s East Germany finds herself banished to a small country hospital.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Claudia Geisler-Bading ...
Stationsschwester Schlösser (as Claudia Geisler)
Peter Weiss ...
Medizinstudent
Carolin Haupt ...
Medizinstudentin
Deniz Petzold ...
Angelo
Rosa Enskat ...
Hausmeisterin Bungert
...
Peer-Uwe Teska ...
Kellner im Ausflugslokal
Elisabeth Lehmann ...
Junge Kellnerin
Mark Waschke ...
Jörg
Peter Benedict ...
Gerhard
Thomas Neumann ...
Rentner am Auto
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Storyline

In 1980s East Germany, Barbara is a Berlin doctor banished to a country medical clinic for applying for an exit visa. Deeply unhappy with her reassignment and fearful of her co-workers as possible Stasi informants, Barbara stays aloof, especially from the good natured clinic head, Andre. Instead, Barbara snatches moments with her lover as she secretly prepares to defect one day. Despite her plans, Barbara learns more about her life that puts her desires and the people around her in a new light. With her changing perspective, Barbara finds herself facing a painful moral dilemma that forces her to choose what she values. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual material, thematic elements and smoking | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 March 2012 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Bárbara  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Germany's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 85th Academy Awards 2013. See more »

Goofs

Andre hands Barbara a cup of coffee, which she promptly drops. You see the shattered pieces of the cup on the floor, but no coffee. See more »

Soundtracks

Cuban Blues
Performed by Dresdner Tanzsinfoniker
Composed by Günter Hörig
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A glimpse into the DDR way of solving problems
19 May 2013 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

The clever doctor Barbara Wolf is by the authorities placed out in the provincial parts of the Eastern German Republic, die DDR. We're in 1980, nine years before the fall of the Berlin wall and the Iron curtain. She has a lover from the free West Germany, and wants to move to the West, which is out if question for the paranoid communist government, which became famous for the surveillance techniques and spying systems. It's later revealed that 1/7th of the population was forced to spy on others, even family members, to prevent opposition, as well as getting too much contact with Western ideas and ideologies.

In the province she meets another clever doctor placed in the province after a mishap pending at a Berlin hospital. Or is this just a cover up story of a spying agent? Barbara can't tell. She knows there are possible spies all over. She rightfully trusts no one. For her it's an impossible idea for her lover to move over to Eastern Germany, as opposed to her getting to the West.

For those living today it's almost impossible to comprehend how it was like to live in DDR (Eastern Germany) during the communist years. It was a society impossible to imagine, only possibly equaled today by North Korea. The state intelligence police, Stasi, was almost everywhere, planting spies and surveillance equipment.

This film doesn't explain the system. You're just put right into it. This might make it hard to understand without having the knowledge of how extreme this society was, almost like George Orwell's great and scary novel "1984" in real life. Barbara is under constant surveillance when she's not far away from people. She's so suspected to do illegal things, that she frequently body and anally strip searched when the Stasi visits her.

I visited Eastern Germany 1988, before the wall came down. The visit marked me for life, both as a Westerner and a Norwegian being able to visit ad a tourist, where they equaled the value of Western currency marks to the Eastern marks, though only valued 1/20th. Still they thought they could keep the longing for the Western freedom from being planted into the DDR-inhabitants. I visited the concentration camp Sachsenhausen, and I experienced the railways where there was no smile to see, the feel of total depression and bleak or hardly any colored lights, as an opposite to the sparkling neon lights of the West, and the total surveillance of the center of Berlin. No western lyrics and western music was allowed, hardly any Western cars. If it could have any kind of opposition interpreted into it, or dreams of the Western freedom, it was disallowed. If you tried to flee to the West, you would be instantly shot! I was terrified for four hours in my last trip back to Western Berlin was halted for four hours when they took my passport and ran away with it.

Today it seems we're not afraid of being under constant surveillance. This is just another reminder of how terrible it s not to have a free will, and not have the right to your own life. It's so inhumane and humiliating. But we're in our way right into the same kind of society.

It's a very god film, but the understated telling and explaining is really too difficult to understand for most today. When Barbara is giving away her opportunity to flee, she's giving up her dreams of freedom. I think most without having the background to understand this, will understand the film. For most it will seem slow and leave too many questions. So read yourself up on what the DDR-politics where before you see this.

And remember that freedom is something we can't give away! Ever!


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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