Barbara (Petzold, 2012)
Political in its backdrop, but personal in its story, Barbara tells the tale of a doctor who wants to move to Denmark with her boyfriend but is banished to a small village in East Germany for her treachery. For someone who is as ignorant on this period in world history as I am, the film still works because Barbara’s tale is more about self-discovery than anything. Is a doctor’s duty to her patients more important than her own freedom and happiness?
Even though the remote village is basically a prison for Barbara, it’s still a beautiful location and the contrast of having something so symbolically ugly be so serene is interesting. Our protagonist wanders the setting, on foot and on bike, carrying out her silent plot to escape while at the same time staying true to her duties and becoming close to her superior on the medical staff. It’s a slow-paced, simply-told story that doesn’t really stretch the limits of cinema, but it’s a quality drama with an emotional resolution. This is the type of thing that should be nominated for Oscars. 8/10