Petzold’s latest film is an incisive, emotionally charged study into the former GDR, again centred on a female character, who seems to be floating through life like a ghost.
GDR in the summer of 1980. Barbara, a doctor, has submitted an application to emigrate to the West. She is punished by being posted away from the capital to a hospital in a small town. Jörg, her lover in the West, is busy planning her escape. It’s a waiting game for Barbara. Her old life no longer holds any charms for her and she is deliberately detached and cool around her colleagues and neighbours. Her life, she thinks, will begin later. Although she succeeds in retaining her aloofness, her new boss, the caring, committed and kind André gets under her skin. Barbara begins to lose her grip on herself and her planned escape.
»Although I was born in the West, my parents fled the GDR. I went in the former GDR to shoot my last films and while I was there, I felt a certain homesickness. I don't know where it came from. The idea was to talk about the GDR, /…/ about the collapsing systems and about love. So we took the Hermann Broch’s novella, set it in the East, and turned it into the film Barbara.« (Christian Petzold)
Born in Hilden in 1960. He first studied German language and literature as well as drama, followed by studies at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin from 1988-94, during which time he was assistant director to Harun Farocki. He started out in his own right directing award-winning TV films, and made his first feature film, The State I Am In, in 2001. He has attained international renown as one of the most prominent young German filmmakers with Gespenster and Yella.