7.3/10
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Phoenix (2014)

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A disfigured Holocaust survivor sets out to determine if the man she loved betrayed her trust.

Director:

Christian Petzold

Writers:

Christian Petzold (screenplay), Hubert Monteilhet (novel) | 1 more credit »
17 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nina Hoss ... Nelly Lenz
Ronald Zehrfeld ... Johnny Lenz
Nina Kunzendorf Nina Kunzendorf ... Lene Winter
Trystan Pütter ... Soldat an der Brücke
Michael Maertens ... Arzt
Imogen Kogge Imogen Kogge ... Elisabeth
Felix Römer Felix Römer ... Geiger
Uwe Preuss ... Clubbesitzer
Valerie Koch ... Tänzerin
Eva Bay ... Tänzerin
Jeff Burrell ... Soldat im Club
Nikola Kastner Nikola Kastner ... Junge Frau
Max Hopp Max Hopp ... Der Mann
Megan Gay ... Mitarbeiterin Zentralstelle Halensee
Kirsten Block ... Wirtin
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Storyline

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 Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An absolute knockout! A rich, Hitchcockian tale of mistaken identity. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and brief suggestive material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Japan] | See more »

Country:

Germany | Poland

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

25 September 2014 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Ave Fénix See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the inspirations for the film came from Vertigo (1958), Germany Year Zero (1948), Out of the Past (1947), film noir and the works of Douglas Sirk. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lene Winter: [arriving at the border]
Soldat an der Brücke: Passport... Nice car. Where did you get it from?
Lene Winter: It's from Switzerland.
Soldat an der Brücke: Just like you?
Lene Winter: Like me.
Soldat an der Brücke: [whistles to the gate] They're from Switzerland. The girl too.
[to her passenger]
Soldat an der Brücke: I want to see your face.
Lene Winter: Can I talk to you?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of Return from the Ashes (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Tag und Nacht
("Night and Day")
Written by Cole Porter
(from musical play "The Gay divorce", 1932)
German lyrics by Loraine Hillmann
Performed by Valerie Koch and Eva Bay
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Difficult premise, bravura execution
17 October 2014 | by reev0See all my reviews

This could have been a disaster. The premise (which I will not spoil, but is easy to find) takes some swallowing, but director Petzold and star Hess get you over the initial bump to set up a situation of great tension. The difficulty then becomes resolving that satisfactorily - and when I saw Nina Hess introduce this movie at the London Film Festival, she said that initially they weren't sure how to end it - but they pull off an absolutely bravura climax to the tale, an unforgettable scene, cinema at its finest.

Hess is brilliant in the central role, a really difficult part that she makes absolutely convincing. The other star here is the cinematography. There are other fine moments too - a really creepy scene early on full of women with bandaged faces - that help set the atmosphere. But the real thrill is to see a story told with such conviction and concluded with such panache.


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