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New York Film Festival 2012: Barbara

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New York Film Festival 2012: Barbara

For those who’ve seen German filmmaker Christian Petzold’s previous films (most recently, Jerichow and the first film in the Dreileben trilogy, Beats Being Dead), the style he employs in his latest film, Barbara, will be familiar: cool, precise, omniscient in its gaze. And yet it’s quite possible that he has never quite put that style to such appropriate and cumulatively devastating use.

The director’s close-to-the-vest approach fits in the context of a narrative that takes place in 1980 East Germany, a time marked by paranoia thanks to the prominence of the Stasi, East Germany’s notoriously corrupt secret police. In an environment marked by fear and distrust, it’s no wonder that Barbara (Nina Hoss) maintains a reserved, distrustful profile among her co-workers at the small pediatric hospital in which she works (previously a more well-known doctor in Berlin, she’s been banished to this small-town hospital as punishment for applying for an exit visa from the GDR). It doesn’t help that, outside her day job, she’s spied on and periodically hassled by one Stasi officer, Schütz (Rainer Bock).

She does harbor secrets of her own though. Most notably, she and her lover, Jörg (Mark Waschke), are planning to covertly flee from this repressive police state to Poland. But two people in particular throw wrenches into her well-laid plans: Stella (Jasna Fritzi Bauer), a young patient whose unborn child is threatened if she’s to return to the labor camp from which she escaped, and Andre (Ronald Zehrfeld), the fellow doctor who gradually takes a liking to Barbara in spite of her surface frigidity.

The relationship between Barbara and Andre provides the emotional core of Petzold’s film. Though Andre is immediately struck by her on her first day at the pediatric hospital, Barbara, naturally, regards him with the same level of suspicion she bears toward just about everyone at the hospital. He makes gestures of friendship toward her, at one point telling her the sad story of why he himself is at that same hospital; her initial reaction upon hearing it is to ask, “Is the story true?” These two characters have much in common, however, beyond their shared vocation: passion for their work, care for their patients, side interests in art (he with literature and visual art, she with music).

For his part, Petzold regards this budding romance, and the possible dangers inherent in letting one’s guard down in this manner, with a distance that somehow doesn’t come off as just chilly detachment. Instead, with his usual stylistic precision, he places us inside Barbara’s frame of mind—experiencing and discovering things as she herself experiences and discovers them—while still staying somewhat outside of it. Petzold regular Hoss’s vivid lead performance, a delicate balancing act between maintaining a mask of stoicism and allowing moments of passion to break through, is key to this effect.

The result is a film that works as both a slow-burning mystery and a character study. Shunning anything resembling clumsy exposition or title cards explaining historical context, Petzold thrusts us into this environment and asks us in the audience to try to get our bearings. As one settles into this world, however, the film becomes more involving as it progresses toward a genuinely gut-wrenching climax. Rarely have I seen close-ups as fraught with such emotionally complex implications as the ones that bring Barbara to its haunting denouement.

The 50th New York Film festival runs from September 28 to October 14. For a complete schedule, including ticketing information, click here.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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