It is the summer of 1980 in the German Democratic Republic and, alone, Barbara is confined to living and working as a doctor in a small provincial town – her punishment for attempting to emigrate to the West. She has only one focus; to escape and for this, she has to wait patiently. Until Andre, her supervisor in the hospital, takes her off course. Are his motives of love or duty to the authorities? The day-to-day pretence, and content supervision slowly take their toll as the tension builds.

DIRECTOR: Christian Petzold

Nina Hoss , Ronald Zehrfield , Rainer Bock

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes


COUNTRY: Germany

BBFC RATING: 12A (Click here for the full classification report)

Official Trailer


The Guardian logo
Contemporary German cinema and perhaps even Germany itself are a bit of an unknown quantity in the UK, so it is a pleasure to see another feature from that highly talented and distinctive German film-maker Christian Petzold … Click here for the full review
This scrupulously even-tempered thriller set in communist East Germany won its director Christian Petzold the Silver Bear at Venice, and has since been selected as the German candidate for next year’s foreign-language Oscar … Click here for the full review
Empire Online logo
This slow-build drama sounds like it might have the narrative punch of an asthmatic child, but Hoss’ spellbinding performance as a doctor slowly opening up to the world around her means that this film, built on the notion of trust, or the lack of it, and the inner impulses of the lead equates to a surprise denouement that lingers long after the film’s end … Click here for the full review and rating
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 … Click here for the full review and rating
As an East German wannabe emigré thaws, so does this cool thriller-turned-melodrama – and Catherine Wheatley sees new reason for international audiences to engage with the work of its director Christian Petzold … Click here for the full review