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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Phoenix

Germany 2014
Starts September 25, 2014

Directed by: Christian Petzold
Writing credits: Christian Petzold, Harun Farocki, Hubert Monteilhet novel
Cast: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf
Length: 98 minutes

Phoenix Once again in collaboration with Nina Hoss in the lead role, Christian Petzold (director, screenplay) created a thought-provoking and suspenseful psychological drama in striking pictures (Hans Fromm, camera), based on a novel by Hubert Monteilhet. Nelly (Hoss)—by friends believed to be dead, her entire family killed—has been brought back from the Nazi Death Camps to Berlin, a city still devastated by WW II. Desperate to get her old life back, Nelly has undergone reconstructive surgery for her severely disfigured face. There is only a hint of her former appearance left; even she can’t recognize herself anymore.

Lena (Kunzendorf), a well-connected friend from pre-war times who works for the
Jewish Agency, has helped her every step of the way; she proposes they start a new life in Israel, financed by Nelly’s inheritance. But instead—and against Lena’s warnings—Nelly sets out to find her husband. When she finally tracks Johnny (Zehrfeld) down he doesn’t recognize her. He does notice a vague similarity though and wants to use this to his advantage. He proposes a business deal for which Nelly is asked to impersonate herself. A cruel game begins and it is painful to watch this person trapped inside a body, aching to be recognized for who she is. This and the transformation that follows are brilliantly portrayed by Nina Hoss. ()

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