Thursday, September 12, 2013

BARBARA
(GERMANY)


Cine Europa 16
Shang Cineplex, Cinema 2


Barbara is a doctor assigned to a small town. She was 'banished' after she was caught trying to secure an exit pass to travel to West Germany.  Setting is obviously during the Cold War era when Germany was still divided by the Berlin Wall.

The audience though is not given much information about her background, her social status or even if she has any family or relatives in the Western part of Germany.  Day in and day out, we see her wearing the same clothes as she reports to the hospital where she is assigned.  She rarely interacts with her colleagues except with another doctor named Andre who is what I call the friendly/flirty type. We also witness that she is under constant surveillance from what we assume is the local police or whatever office is tasked with monitoring suspicious individuals.

Nina Hoss the actress who portrays Barbara has this melancholic expression on her face. She barely smiles and her movements/gestures are guarded. Great personification of an intriguing yet somewhat quite sad character.  Sometimes you can't help but feel like giving Barbara a hug just to cheer her up a bit or just to reassure her that everything will be alright.  Even though we know just how restricted her life in the East really is.

But everything is not as dour as there is a slight glimmer of hope as we see Barbara is secretly planning another 'escape'.   As the day slowly approaches, we sense very little excitement on her part (or she is probably just good at hiding her emotions).  We also see how she is slowly but surely coming out of her shell as she becomes more open with Dr. Andre. 

Overall, this well acted drama moves at a slow pace yet it is tinged with a silent sense of foreboding for such an intriguing character. Everything is quite subtle even the little twist towards the ending which made me sad yet I couldn't help but feel like things would work out just fine for Barbara despite her painful yet very noble decision.

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