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"Rarely graceful mystery...",
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This review is from: Barbara [DVD] (DVD)
German screenwriter and director Christian Petzold`s sixth feature film which he co-wrote with Czech-born German screenwriter, producer and director Harun Farocki, premiered In competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2012, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, in the Horizons section at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2007, was shot on location in Kirchmöser, in the town of Brandenburg an der Havel in Brandenburg, Germany and is a German production which was produced by German producer Florian Koerner von Gustorf. It tells the story about a female doctor in East Germany named Barbara who as a consequence of having signed a petition saying that she wishes to leave the German Democratic Republic, is sent to a small town near the capital city of Germany where she is to live and work at a paediatric surgery department. There she is introduced to her new boss named André who is assigned to supervise her.
Distinctly and precisely directed by German filmmaker Christian Petzold, this fictional, suspenseful and somewhat historic period drama which is narrated mostly from the protagonist`s point of view, draws a carefully structured and concentrated portrayal of a woman whom whilst awaiting her opportunity to flee to West Germany to be with her lover and despite her predetermined attitude towards her new place of residence, begins to appreciate and care for her patients and her colleagues. While notable for its colorful and naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling cinematography by German cinematographer Hans Fromm, production design by production designer Kade Gruber, fine costume design by UK-born German costume designer Anette Guther, film editing by film editor Bettina Böhler and use of sound, colors and light, this character-driven and narrative-driven story about some of the many people who wanted to emigrate from communist DDR, depicts a dense study of character and contains a good score by composer Stefan Will.
This quiet, nuanced, rhythmic and fragmented chamber-piece which is set against the backdrop of the socialist state of East Germany during a bright summer in the 1980s, which has been chosen as Germany`s official submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013 and where a male doctor immediately takes a liking to a woman he doesn`t know has a lover in West Germany and is planning to escape, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle character development and continuity, underlying romantic tension, harmonic and foreboding atmosphere and the efficiently understated acting performances by German actress Nina Hoss in her fourth collaboration with Christian Petzold and German actor Ronald Zehrfeld who had a minor though noticeable role in German screenwriter and director Christian Schwochow`s "Die Unsichtbare" (2011). A genuinely humane love-story and a rarely graceful mystery which gained, among other awards, the Silver Bear for Best Director Christian Petzold at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival in 2012.