Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Barbara (2012)

Directed by Christian Petzold
Starring: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Rainer Bock, Mark Waschke
Grade: B+ [79]

The prime example of what a festival film should be, “Barbara” is best viewed with no prior knowledge, its independence of operation as a filtration of characterisation and context piercing in a way that, say, Schleinzer’s “Michael” isn't.  This is a character study by title and design, surely structuring an arc for Barbara but nevertheless encouraging the freedom of its lead actress to ruminate about her character’s motives to quite compelling lengths. Hoss is as great here as she was in Petzold’s Yella five years ago; brooding, tense, judgemental,  withholding a sense of injustice beneath layers of duty and hostility. It’s a case of an actress elevating material that’s strong but vacant and occasionally contrived; what shouldn't work here half-works through the emotion and strength of the performer. Zehrfeld deserves some of the plaudits, too.

No comments: