Barbara: New York Film Festival 2012

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New York Film Festival 2012: Barbara

New York Film Festival 2012: Barbara


A strong candidate for the chilliest women’s film ever, director Christian Petzold’s period melodrama follows an East German female doctor (Nina Hoss) suffering through the last gasp of Cold War nationalism. Having applied for a visa to reunite with her over-the-Wall boyfriend, she’s rewarded with an exile to a primitive country hospital. Between random Stasi interrogations and stints saving lives, the titular character plans an escape—but will she flee to the promised land or stay in the sticks with that hunky rural M.D. (Ronald Zehrfeld)? Like his previous work, Petzold’s latest milks slow-burn pacing, impeccably composed shots and the talents of his muse Hoss for all they’re worth. Admiration for the director’s sure hand won’t keep you, however, from feeling like this excavation of Germany’s political past may ultimately be a tad too remote for its own good.—David Fear

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