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Barbara (I) (2012)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  8 March 2012 (Germany)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 8,011 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 34 user | 178 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
Jasna Fritzi Bauer ...
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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The radio broadcast is of the women's 1500m race (Athletics) of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. (The United States, West Germany, and ~63 other states boycotted the Moscow Games) 1500m results Gold: Tatjana Kazankina (USSR) Silver: Christiane Wartenburg (GDR (East Germany)) Bronze: Nadezhda Olisarenko (USSR)

Ulrike Bruns (GDR), also mentioned in the broadcast, finished fifth. 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

 
Nina Hoss is under constant pressure in 1980 East Germany
9 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Barbara (2012), a movie that's set in East Germany in 1980, captures the police state atmosphere of that country fantastically. We feel the suspicion, spying, distrust, and the lack of privacy. We feel how ordinary people are coopted into spying on one another. We feel the feeling of constantly being observed, the lack of music, everyone guarding their statements and conversations. We feel the gloominess.

The directing by Christian Petzold of "Barbara" is outstanding. The story is not complex, focusing on a period in the life of an East German doctor named Barbara in 1980, played by Nina Hoss. The script is outstanding too, because it sheds light on what Nina's character is going through in a variety of ways.

It is amazing how well Petzold takes a simple story and shows it to us suspensefully. Every scene is tense, even though only ordinary things may be going on in many of them. Of course there are dramatic incidents that are not everyday occurrences, but they don't occupy most of the screen time.

Nina Hoss is under close scrutiny. She is tense for most of the film. She has to be secretive if she is to achieve her plans, because the Stasi intrudes on her apartment whenever it pleases them.

Be warned. An American or British or you-name-it country's police state of 2014 doesn't have to look like the East German one; and yet it can still be a police state. Life, history, people, societies, technology, aims and circumstances are all so variable that the outcomes need not mirror precisely the past. And yet there can be enough that is common to produce the same result: fear, suppression of the person and personality, control and other negative feelings and consequences in people.


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