A casual attraction begins to grow serious between two pediatric surgeons (Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld) in East Germany in 1980 in Christian Petzold's BARBARA. An Adopt Films release. All rights reserved.
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Opened: 12/21/2012 Limited
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Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: German Drama (German w/English subtitles)
Rated: PG-13 for some sexual material, thematic elements and smoking.
Germany's official selection for the 85th Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film.
East Germany, 1980. Barbara Wolff is a young doctor who has applied for an exit visa from the GDR and, as punishment, has been transferred from her prestigious post in Berlin to a small pediatric hospital in the country. She must weigh her absolute dedication to her patients against a potential escape to the West, and her newfound attraction to a doctor in whom she sees a kindred spirit.
East Germany, 1980. Barbara Wolff is a talented young doctor who has applied for an exit visa from the GDR and, as punishment, has been transferred from her prestigious post in Berlin to a small pediatric hospital in the country. Even though she is constantly aware of the shadowy presence of, and overwhelming numbers of Stasi officers chronicling her every move, every waking hour, she arrives at her new post having already planned a series of dangerous assignations with her lover, with whom she plans to escape to the West, to Poland.
To Barbara, everyone is suspect as a potential betrayer at her new hospital -- everyone except the patients, who receive every ounce of her compassion and loyalty, without hesitation. One such potential enemy is a young doctor named Andre. Initially rejecting his overtures of friendship, she is perplexed by his talent, his determination, and his sincerity. It doesn't jive with the enemies she sees, and those she doesn't see, all around her. His side interests in art and music, which mirror her own, cause her to let down her guard a bit, and an attraction grows, an attraction she knows she can't afford to nurture.
In a rare moment of dual repose Andre confides to Barbara that he wound up at this particular post, in self-exile, after an intern whose work he was overseeing made a tragic, unintentional mistake that caused the blindness of two young children. As poignant as the story is Barbara can't help herself from asking, "Is the story true?"
A young female patient, Stella, arrives at the hospital suffering from meningitis. She immediately latches onto Barbara as the only doctor from whom she will allow treatment and visitation. Barbara takes on a maternal role in addition to her role as a healer as soon as she learns Stella is pregnant.
Life-changing decisions must be made: Will she permit Stella to be returned to a work camp once the meningitis is treated, a fate that will almost certainly imperil the life of Stella's unborn child? Will she continue to fall in love with a doctor in whom she sees a kindred spirit, a relationship, should it flourish, that might doom her to remain in the East? Will an escape plan hatched by her lover be carried out or thwarted when her prodigious medical skills are suddenly required to possibly save the life of a new patient?
BARBARA is a story of self-sacrifice and freedom and quiet heroism at a time and place when such values are at a premium. It is also about a healer whose morality and set of personal ethics are being called into questions by circumstances specific to that same time and place in history.
About the Director
Christian Petzold is one of the leading directors in New German cinema. The German Film Critics Association has twice awarded him Best Film awards, for the urban drama GHOSTS and THE STATE I AM IN. He was twice named Best Director at the German Film Awards, for the psychological drama WOLFSBURG and THE STATE I AM IN. His first fiction feature, 2000's political drama THE STATE I AM IN, also won Best Screenplay at Thessaloniki (Greece) and the Grand Prize at Valenciennes (France).
Petzold has also received much acclaim for the made- for-TV features SOMETHING TO REMIND ME (TOTER MANN, 2002), Die Beischlafdiebin (1998) and CUBA LIBRE (1995).
Born in 1960, Petzold studied German and Theater Studies at the Free University in Berlin, then graduated from the German Film & Television Academy (DFFB) in 1994.
About the Cast
Nina Hoss (Barbara)
Born 1975 in Stuttgart. Enjoyed her breakthrough while still studying at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin, while playing the lead in Bern Eichinger's Das MADCHEN ROSEMARIE. She is considered one of Germany's most celebrated theatre and film actresses. Nina Hoss had received many awards, including the Gertrud Eysoldt-Ring for MEDEA at the Deutsche Theater Berlin, the Bavarian Film Prize for DIE WEISSE MASSAI (THE WHITE MASSAI), the Adolf-Grimme Prize, and, for TOTER MANN (SOMETHING TO REMIND ME) and WOLFSBURG, the Best Acting Prize from the Festival des Deutschen Films, the Bremer Film Prize, the Berlin Silver Bear and the German Film Prize for YELLA. BARBARA is her fifth leading role in a film by Christian Petzold.
Ronald Zehrfeld (Andre)
Born 1977 in Berlin. Studied acting at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he was engaged at various theatres including the Deutsche Theater Berlin, the St. Pauli Theater Hamburg, and the Berliner Ensemble, with Peter Zadek and Hans Neuenfels. In 2005, Ronald Zehrfeld made his film debut in Dominik Graf's DER ROTE KAKADU (THE RED COCKATOO). His other films include IN JEDER SEKUNDE (D: Jan Frehse), 12 METER OHNE KOPF (12 PACES WITHOUT A HEAD) (D: Sven Taddiken), DER DSCHUNGEL (D: Elmar Fischer), DIE STUNDES DES WOLFES (D: Matthias Glasner) and WEISSENSEE (D: Friedemann Fromm). In 2011, Ronald Zehrfeld was awarded the German TV Award and the Adolf- Grimme Prize for Dominik Graf's IM ANGESICHT DES VERBRECHENS (IN FACE OF THE CRIME).
Jasna Fritzi Bauer (Stella)
Born 1989. Trained at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. Theatre roles included those at the Hessische Staatstheater Wiesbaden and the Schaubu¨hne am Lehniner Platz. For the production HELDEN she shared in the Best Acting Ensemble Prize at the Theatertreffen der Schauspielschule. Her film roles include IM ALTER VON ELLEN (AT ELLEN'S AGE) (D: Pia Marais), FUR ELISE (D: Wolfgang Dinslage), SCHERBENPARK (D: Bettina Blu¨mner) und EIN TICK ANDERS (D: Andi Rogenhagen), for which Jasna Fritzi Bauer was awarded the Filmkunstfest Schwerin's Best New Talent Prize.
Mark Waschke (Jorg)
Born 1972 in Wattenscheid. Trained at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. Acted in NACHMITTAG (D: Angela Schanelec), UNTER DIR DIE STADT (D: Christoph Hochhausler), DER MANN DER UBER AUTOS SPRANG (D: Nick Baker- Monteys), PLAYOFF (D: Eran Riklis), DER BRAND (D: Brigitte Bertele), DAS FENSTER ZUM SOMMER (D: Hendrik Handloegten) and SCHILF (D: Claudia Lehmann). Mark was awarded the RomaFictionFest actor's prize for his role in BUDDENBROOKS; for HABERMANN (D: Juraj Herz) he received the Bavarian Film Prize.
Rainer Bock (Schutz)
Born 1954 in Kiel. Studied acting in Kiel, then had stage roles at the Mannheimer National Theater and the Stuttgart State Theater. He was a member of the Bavarian Staatsschauspiel until 2011. His films include JETZT ODER NIE (D: Lars Bu¨chel), IM WINTER EIN JAHR (A YEAR AGO IN WINTER) (D: Caroline Link), RAUS INS LEBEN (D: Vivian Naefe), MEIN BESTER FEIND (D: Wolfgang Murnberger), UNKNOWN IDENTITY (D: Jaume Collet-Serra), INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (D: Quentin Tarantino) and WER WENN NICHT WIR (IF NOT US, WHO) (D: Andres Veiel). He was nominated for the German Film Prize for the role of the doctor in Michael Haneke's DAS WEIßE BAND (THE WHITE RIBBON).