Phoenix Germany, Poland 2014 – 98min.

Movie Rating


Movie Rating: Geoffrey Crété

June 1945. Seriously disfigured at Auschwitz, Nelly Lenz, former singer and only survivor in her family, returns to the rubble of Berlin. With the help of her friend Lene, who works for the Jewish Agency for Palestine, she tries to regain her identity after reconstructive surgery to her face. But Nelly only wants one thing: to find her husband Johnny. Despite Lene’s warnings, she finds him in a cabaret called Phoenix. Persuaded his wife is dead, he doesn’t recognize her, but does think she bears a resemblance to his wife. And so Johnny suggests Nelly pretend to be her to inherit Nelly’s fortune. Nelly accepts this bizarre proposal…

The main strength of Phoenix lies in the fascinating Nina Hoss. This is her fifth collaboration with Christian Petzold, one of the most active directors of Germany’s new wave and winner of the 2012 Golden Bear for Best Director for Barbara. Hoss plays the main character with a mix of fragility and beauty, coldness and sensuality, showing the quiet violence of this twisted story, which was adapted from the novel "Le Retour des cendres" by Hubert Monteilhet – which took place in France and had a much more tragic plot. Hoss also manages to make the movie captivating through its sluggish moments, holding the audience all the way through to the end.



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