Performances that could use a look
Nina Hoss - 'Barbara'
Nobody may have noticed outside rarefied arthouse circles, but the German pair of Nina Hoss and Christian Petzold has, over the course of five films together, grown into one of modern cinema's most invaluable actor-director unions. Their latest collaboration, an elegant, incisive study of social conflict in Stasi-era East Germany that is contending for the foreign-language Oscar, may not be their most fiery, but it features some of Hoss's most rivetingly restrained work: as a closed-off city doctor demoted to the boondocks for a professional misdeed, she patiently crafts a character largely through what she's not allowed to tell us, retaining her mystique even as she thaws. - Guy Lodge