FIND MOVIES
Movie List
Loading ...
or
Find Theaters and Movie Times
or
Search Movies

Interview: Nina Hoss on Barbara

By CHARLES TAYLOR  |  December 18, 2012

Yeah. And for most of it, it's you alone. And there's a sort of odd tension because that character is aware she's being kept tabs on, and yet for most of the movie it's you and the camera. You work mostly silent and still, and yet there's never a moment when you don't feel like you know what's going on with the her. Well, what was important to know . . . they talked a lot about, "How does the viewer observe the woman? What position do you give the audience so that you don't get a voyeuristic feeling?" So I knew that the way they capture me in these lonely moments is one that doesn't attack her. So I didn't have to mistrust the camera. It was a friend more than an enemy.

And also an invisible presence. Exactly. Something that gets the truth, kind of, which [Barbara] won't show ever to the State. But I can give it to the camera. It was a relationship of a special kind. I thought this role was really about balancing the emotions, how much can you give away, how much can you tell through your eyes or through your gestures. She mustn't ever give away too much.

In all the films that I've seen that you've made with Petzold -- and especially in this one -- the tension's all implicit, it's all beneath the surface. And inBarbara you physicalize that tension. You hold your arms across your body again and again throughout the movie. This is protection. This holding, covering herself. Because I always thought if you go through these procedures all the time [Barbara is periodically cavity searched by a woman who works for the Stasi], this woman comes with her rubber gloves and examines you everywhere, Barbara feels hurt and she feels on the edge. I always thought, she's on the edge of breaking. I had to work on her being tough to the world around her. But not so harsh and closed up that you're not interested in her anymore. You have to be interested.

And she's not afraid — she reacts very instinctively to the authorities when they're rough with the girl brought in from the labor camp. I thought she has a certain kind of freedom now that she knows, she actually has a way to get out. That gives you a bit of freedom. And also, "Now that I am in conflict with the State already, I might as well just go on with it." I always think, now there's this big discussion about the Chinese, and I'm always thinking, if I look at someone like Ai Wei Wei, it's exactly that. There's something that drives them, and that's what I thought about Barbara as well.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |   next >
  Topics: Features , German, film, Christian Petzold,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY CHARLES TAYLOR
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   CHARLES JACKSON’S SECOND ACT  |  March 18, 2013
    F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed there were no second acts in American life.
  •   KATE BEYOND TIME: THE KATE MOSS BOOK  |  January 08, 2013
    Almost all models who achieve some degree of fame find themselves blamed for whatever agenda their era's most vocal scold happens to be pushing.
  •   INTERVIEW: NINA HOSS ON BARBARA  |  December 18, 2012
    Quietly over the last 11 years, one of the strongest collaborations in contemporary cinema has been developing between the German director Christian Petzold and the actress he often chooses to star in his films, Nina Hoss. Petzold and Hoss's latest collaboration, Barbara , is their richest and finest film.
  •   SLIDESHOW: THE CHEAP NEAR-THRILLS OF SEXYTIME  |  December 14, 2012
    With porn so privately accessible now, we don't worry about the stigma attached to its consumption, the thought of someone pausing to peruse the art in front of an adult movie theater (hell, the thought of an adult movie theater) instead of just ducking in before being seen is almost touching.
  •   BUNNY YEAGER’S NAKED AMBITION  |  October 05, 2012
    Pin-up photography has served so many purposes — outlet for male desire; outlet for feminist ire; retro kitsch emblem — that it has barely been talked about as photography.

 See all articles by: CHARLES TAYLOR