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Barbara (12)

Barbara (12)

A doctor working in 1980s East Germany finds herself banished to a small country hospital.

The critical consensus

Although there remains in place a palpable sense of oppression and paranoia, the dividing line between the repressive East and the liberated West is sufficiently blurred to give Barbara’s dilemma real dramatic weight.

****(*)Miles Fielder, The List, 06/09/2012

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.

****(*)Ellen E Jones, Total Film, 19/09/2012

Christian Petzold's drama will prompt inevitable comparisons with the Oscar-winning The Lives of Others. While not as exquisitely calibrated as Lives, it is just as much of a gripping watch.

****(*)Alison Rowat, The Herald, 27/09/2012

[A] scrupulously even-tempered thriller.

***(*)(*)Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, 27/09/2012

An engaging character study about embers of humanity subverting the communist machine, and a prime showcase for the great German actress, Nina Hoss.

****(*)Glenn Heath Jr, Little White Lies, 27/09/2012

The weird oppression and seediness of the times is elegantly captured, and Hoss coolly conveys Barbara's highly strung desperation.

****(*)Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 27/09/2012

Tough and tender, it's the best Iron Curtain drama since The Lives Of Others.

****(*)Philip Wilding, Empire Online, 28/09/2012

There isn't a moment lost in Barbara – the last 20 minutes are a miracle of narrative economy – and Hans Fromm's photography is unfussily atmospheric.

Jonathan Romney, The Independent on Sunday, 30/09/2012

An enthralling little gem.

****(*)Pauline McLeod, Daily Express, 30/09/2012

This is a film of consequence, and it's good to be reminded of how much better life is for most people in eastern Europe than it was a quarter of a century ago.

Philip French, The Observer, 30/09/2012

A taut and terrible tale of state oppression and personal sacrifice is given a wonderfully human dimension.

****(*)Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman, 04/10/2012

This may not be the film for those seeking a lively thriller but Petzold’s genius lies in his ability to create boiling tension with very little effort.

****(*)Sarah Findlay, TVBomb, 09/10/2012

Where and when?

Edinburgh Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Friday September 28, 2012, until Thursday October 4, 2012. More info:

Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee from Friday October 12, 2012, until Thursday October 18, 2012. More info:

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