Phoenix

Phoenix

DVD - 2016 | German
Average Rating:
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Set in a rubble-strewn Berlin in 1945, is like no other film about post-World War II Jewish identity. After surviving Auschwitz, a former cabaret perfromer, her face disfigured and reconstructed, returns to her war-ravaged hometown to seek out the gentile husband who may or may not have betrayed her to the Nazis. Without recognizing her, he enlists her to play his wife in a bizarre hall-of-shattered-mirrors story that's as richly metaphorical as it is preposterously engrossing.
Publisher: [New York, New York] : The Criterion Collection, [2016]
ISBN: 9781681431390
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (98 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in.
video file, DVD video, rda
digital, optical, rda

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j
Janice21383
Jul 10, 2017

As voisjoe1_0 says below, a little Vertigo and a little film noir, Phoenix could fit comfortably into the people returning from concentration camps/war/other horrific events sub-genre that was popular in the postwar years, for obvious reasons. After that human catastrophe, every thinking person questioned his identity, and the assumptions of his prewar world. For a slow-paced film, the tension is high, and I would be impressed if you could guess the ending. As for the initial premise: Nina Hoss's transformation is stunning, but the main reason why SPOILER her character's husband does not recognize her is because he does not want to. Of all human forces, denial is one of the strongest.

i
IV27HUjg
Jun 14, 2017

I bought the premise without any weed, although there were times I questioned the method. However, this is not Hollywood, but a respected German director & actors. Prior to viewing I chose the supplement conversation between director/actor for greater explanation. During the film that conversation made sense of the project. I've seen Barbara (same director/actor.)

This subject has troubled me over the years, as to what I'd have done or would have to do. I have very conflicting feelings. Did the husband do the right thing or was it pure self preservation? I had no problem buying the premise that the trauma was true, based on many former documents & reads.

Yes, I really liked it. Not a fast moving film. During the trailer of last scene I missed the key element.

f
fgrammen
Apr 03, 2017

A most subtle and sensitive portrayal of loss of identity, betrayal and recovery.

u
uncommonreader
Jan 31, 2017

This is an interesting film about a woman suffering extreme trauma who has lost her identity and voice and about how she is able to regain her identity.

d
duanetucker
Jan 08, 2017

Contrived and preposterous. If you can buy into this premise, you've been smoking too much weed...or not enough!?

p
PeterRLD
Jan 06, 2017

This movie, directed by Christian Petzold, paints a picture of a young woman whose body and mind have been battered and scarred by the Holocaust. Excellent performances all around. The plot develops slowly but focuses on whether she can muster up the toughness to do the right thing when faced with a chance to get back to her husband who may or may not have ratted her out.

e
empbee
Dec 25, 2016

An excellent movie about betrayal. Keeps you tense and incredulous. An unexpected, or maybe unfinished end heightens the story.

m
maipenrai
Dec 04, 2016

Excellent film about a young woman who literally rises from the ashes of Auschwitz to a new life. Well acted by Nina Hoss. You literally do not know until the final scene how this movie will end. Ms. Hoss also did a great job in "Barbara" and "Eine Frau in Berlin" also called "A Woman in Berlin and "The Downfall of Berlin: Anonyma" = all the same film . Kristi and Abby Tabby Say 4 paws up.

l
lukasevansherman
Aug 04, 2016

Mesmerizing and intense German film about a Holocaust survivor who has facial reconstruction and is looking for her husband, whom she suspects may have betrayed her. It uses elements of the thriller and the melodrama in the service of a serious story. NIna Hoss is excellent in the lead. Directed by Christian Petzold, who also worked with Hoss on "Barbara." The title refers to the club where she finds her husband, but it obviously has symbolic import.

jpozenel Jun 12, 2016

I requested this movie because I had seen Nina Hoss in the television show "Homeland" and found her to be a very interesting actor. She didn't disappoint me in this movie. It's a pretty unique story that would not have worked without her superb and subtle acting. I'm not much for reading subtitles in foreign films, but it was worth it in this case.

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j
jimg2000
May 31, 2016

Johnny: They want Nelly, not a ragged camp-internee. That's what we're working on here.
Nelly: If I'm coming... someone is bound to ask me what I experienced there, what I...
Johnny: What?
Nelly: How it was there, and I'll need a story.
Johnny: What kind of story?
Nelly: What? Something or other. Like... how we sat on a beam, naked and... went through the clothing of those who had just arrived, while the Kapos stood around us. We had to check for banknotes, or jewels they'd hidden, And then this... girl, this girl... looks at me. She looks at me. This girl looks at me...

j
jimg2000
May 31, 2016

Read after the movie unless you don't mind spoiler possibilities.
===
The rationale or Excuse:
Did you betray Nelly? Sometimes... it's not a real betrayal. You hid her... had to take care of her all that time... Then came arrest and interrogation. Finally you are suddenly released. You hurry to check up on her. You don't notice you're being followed. Then it's too late. You just stand there and there's nothing
you can do. You have to watch Nelly being taken away.

j
jimg2000
May 31, 2016

Read after the movie unless you don't mind spoiler possibilities.
===
Lene: Do you know what disgusts me? We Jews wrote, sang and slaved... went to war for Germany, yet we were gassed, one and all. And now the survivors return and forgive. The gassing ceases and we forgive... all counts of cowardice and treachery.
===
Lene's letter: Dear Nelly, I told you there is no way back for us. But for me there's no way forwards, either. I feel more drawn to our dead than to our living. ...
===
Nelly: What would I do in a Jewish choir?
Lene: I'm not a Jew. You are, like it or not. They tried to kill you because you're a Jew.

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