Director: Christian Petzold. Germany, 2012. 105 minutes. Cert: 12A. Language: German (subtitled).
“one terrific film, as smart, thoughtful and emotionally involving as just about anything that’s out there” – Los Angeles Times
“works its magic slowly, and on multiple levels; it’s a historical drama, a mystery and a love story…Hoss’ performance is simply one of the finest of the year” – NPR
Set in 1980, director Christian Petzold’s latest work centres on a doctor (Nina Hoss) banished to a small town in East Germany as punishment for applying for an exit visa.
Planning to flee for Denmark with her boyfriend, Barbara remains icy and withdrawn around her colleagues, particularly with the lead physician (Ronald Zehrfeld), who is hiding a secret of his own. With her patients, however, the guarded doctor is kind, warm, and protective, even risking her own safety for one of her charges. But as the day of her planned escape quickly approaches, Barbara starts to lose control, over herself, her plans and over love.
Masterfully controlled and totally absorbing, this Cold War thriller expertly details the costs of telling and withholding the truth, and captures the human and political dilemmas of life in oppressive 1980s East Germany.
Starring: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock, Christina Hecke, Claudia Geisler, Peter Weiss, Carolin Haupt
Read The Guardian review. ****
Read Los Angeles Times review.