Wednesday, October 31, 2012
While waiting to be able to see movie, completely forgot about plot and I'm really glad this happened as believe that when you know nothing about story the experience with this movie has to be different than when you do. Since I feel that you should go virgin to the story, I'm forced to not analyze anything about this layered story that could touch you in many levels if you are willing to peel the layers and enjoy the slowly built slight tension that director Christian Petzold masterly impregnated to his film.
I met Petzold with his puzzling Gespenster (Ghosts) and while found film strange -especially for a lesbian interest film- I was highly impressed with his filmmaking and storytelling style. Then saw Yella, another strange movie that absolutely captured my interest as a darkish but very intellectual exercise. Then came Barbara a film that I found not strange at all and perhaps it's Petzold's most accessible film of all I have seen but know that many will find the pace extremely slow, especially Academy members that will see film as is Germany submission to 2013 Oscar.
Pace is so slow and narrative evolves so slow, that is inevitable for viewers to start wondering what is happening here. If you are patient soon you will start to uncover clues to where they are, what time-period story is set, who is Barbara, why she is harassed and why she end up there. But if you blink while watching there are chances that you could miss the clue. Still I believe that Perzold's storytelling style is so interesting that even if you cannot identify any of the above because you are captured by only the evident narrative, you could still enjoy the film that will motivate you to fill the gaps as you wish. To me this is amazing and is the reason why I suggest you see movie without knowing about the plot.
Then film is so good that after watching once and learning what movie is about you could go back and watch again to surely uncover many more layers to film and story. I bet that some will see a different story than the one you imagined the first time. Still the message will or could be the same, what is to live under very difficult circumstances and still be able to behave like a human being. Is all about trust.
Impeccable warmish cinematography -different to Petzold's usually cold visuals- plus an outstanding performance by Nina Hoss that delivers a great -but very slowly- transformation in front of our eyes, from cold and misanthropic to a warmer more living woman that cares no matter the damage she has endured. Truly impressive and a strong reason to make this movie must be seen.
Film premiered in competition at 2012 Berlinale to great reviews in German press, not so in other languages, and while traveling the fest circuit has collected more honors but none like the ones collected in German awards where Petzold got the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlinale, Film Award in Silver for Outstanding Feature Film at 2012 German Film Awards and Jasna Fritzi Bauer (Stella) won the New Faces Award for Best Actress. The above makes me think that film perhaps is "too German" for world audiences but if you are familiar with Petzold work I know that movie has to be must be seen for you and surely will enjoy this film that is both about the voyage as the destination.
Have seen it twice, have seen two different stories, maybe will see it again and surely will discover more; but what blew my mind the most, first and second time, is the amazing Nina Hoss performance, truly mesmerizing and in my opinion, superior to highly awarded Yella performance.
Watch trailer @MOC