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In the aftermath of WWII, Nelly, a Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, horribly disfigured from a bullet wound in her face, undergoes a series of facial reconstruction surgeries and decides to find her husband Johnny who works at the Phoenix club in Berlin. Undoubtedly, Nelly is stunning, yet, her new self is beyond recognition, so Johnny, the man who may have betrayed her to the Nazis, will never imagine that the woman in front of him who bears an uncomfortable and unsettling resemblance to his late wife, is indeed her. Without delay, and with the intention to collect the deceased's inheritance, Nelly will go along with Johnny's plot and she will impersonate the dead woman, giving the performance of a lifetime before friends and relatives in a complex game of deceit, duplicity, and ultimately, seduction. In the end, during this masquerade, as the fragile and broken Nelly tries to find out whether Johnny betrayed her or not, she will have to dig deep into her wounded ...Written by
According to Christia Petzold, Phoenix is the second chapter of his trilogy called "Love in Times of Oppressive Systems". The trilogy also includes Barbara (2012) and Transit (2018). See more »
She is at the Phoenix bar and sees her husband. He does not recognize her. She runs out home. It is night and pitch dark. As she enters her apartment and her friend asks her if it is all okay, beautiful daylight thru the window. That's bothersome. See more »
At first I was quite resistant to this film. I thought, surely plastic surgery was not very good at the end of WWII? I thought surely there would be recognition where there apparently wasn't? Then I began to get it. I saw the poetry in this and how well it was handled. I saw the portrayal of an attempt to reconstruct not a face but of a life, a way of being, before it was destroyed by the Nazis.
That destruction went very far, inevitably corrupting people and causing them to betray one another.
Really this is a very powerful film and I urge anyone to watch it. At present this has a rating of 7.3 here at IMDb but this just tells us how films that appeal to teenagers tend to get high ratings whereas unfortunately truly great films like this one do not do so well.
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