Barbara

March 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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This spare German film might be a tough sell for people (the guy I went with hated it).  It appears to take place in the late 70s or early 80s in the DDR (East Germany).  Barbara is a doctor who has pissed off the government because she wants permission to leave the country, taking her free state-provided education with her, to be with her lover.  They respond by sending her to a rural outpost hospital to join another doctor being punished for the types of crimes that audiences can sympathize with.  In fact, little in this film makes any attempt to explore any moral ambiguities, though it pretends to.  The acting is strong enough and the scenes of the German woods and villages are often beautiful.  Barbara is frequently dressed in dark blue, thus standing out against the greens and browns around her.  I was struck several times by the simple beauty of this cinematography.  I also found much of the story of Barbara’s plans to escape to be interesting, though the plot and dialogue follow the typical European pacing that often baffles and frustrates American film goers.  There is real strength, compassion and beauty in some small moments.  Unfortunately, there are too few of them.  In the end, I was frustrated that Barbara was more of a good guy than a real person.  Her final decisions had been telegraphed throughout the last half of the movie but were never really explained.  It was a disappointing end to an otherwise decent movie.

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