Barbara review

Christian Petzold's Cold War-era character study

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It's 1980 in East Germany and doctor Barbara (Nina Hoss) has been exiled to a remote, rural hospital by a disapproving Stasi.

As she plots an escape to a lover beyond the Wall, our frosty heroine warms to her drab Soviet environment and the people in it.

Like Barbara the woman, Barbara the film has hidden depths and an arch way of melding delicate irony with Casablanca -like sympathy for human lives tossed by history’s cruel currents.

Not only has director Christian Petzold assembled a fascinating hill of beans, but there’s a moonlit scene that almost alone justifies his Silver Bear win at Berlin.

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Available platformsMovie