Between Duty and Desire

In “Barbara,” a dissident East German doctor must choose between escaping to the West or helping an abused girl.
Barbara Wolff (Nina Hoss) is banished to a pediatric hospital in provincial East Germany in 1980. The film opens with Barbara arriving early for her first day of work. Striking, elegant and remote, she gets off the bus, checks her watch and sits on a bench for a smoke.
Her new boss, Dr. Andre Reiser (Ronald Zehrfeld) and an East German secret policeman, Klaus Schutz (Rainer Bock) are watching from a window. “She won’t be even one second early,” the Stasi agent says.

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