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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
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 »
Great acting and interesting themes propels this simple and successful film.
Phoenix: Ziemlich großes Kino!
Phoenix is a simple film with complicated themes of identity, survival, and loss. It is not your normal post WWII film, nor is it your typical concentration camp survivor story. The main character, Nelly, was in a camp and her trauma is reflected in the desperation of a divided Berlin. Her interactions with others are clearly influenced by her time in the camps, and Nina Hoss wonderfully portrays the protagonist.
Unfortunately, the actor who plays the lead male, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld) is relatively ineffective compared to the stunning Hoss. I am not sure whether is is the script or the acting, but he clearly isn't up to her level. Nelly's best friend, Lena, is performed with skill by Nina Kunzendorf. While not as remarkable as Hoss, she holds her own in their scenes together.
The look of the film is lovely, but it is clearly made on a budget. The music is appropriate for the mood and the era, though a couple of times too loud and overly dramatic. The pace is deliberate and effective.
It is a good film that offers us no answers to the questions it poses: how do we survive after everything is taken away, how do we return to a life that no longer exists, whom do we trust now when many of our old friends were Nazi or collaborators during the war, how do we react to someone who returns who we thought was dead, and where do we go when nothing is left of our former life. In the film, like life, there are no easy answers. That only strengthens the film's appeal.
Rating: Pay full price.
I don't want to say to much for fear of giving too much away. The film, while not shocking, is not predicable.
Peace, Tex Shelters
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