PHOENIX : by Christian Petzold

Christian Petzold has brought to us a tense well written film noir, a classic tale of a woman who has been betrayed but was unaware until she starts on a path of discovery. The story starts in 1945 with Nelly ( Nina Hoss ), who was captured after her best efforts to avoid being found by the Nazi’s. Nelly has been badly injured whilst suffering persecution in Auschwitz after, unknown to her she was betrayed by her husband Johnny. Whilst in Auschwitz Nelly held on to the hope she would be re-united with the love of her life, it kept her going through the living hell that was Auschwitz.

Nelly survives but at a cost, she is horribly disfigured and needs reconstructive surgery. This doesn’t deter Nelly from trying to find her husband and after she is released from hospital, she returns to her home town that she had been hiding in. Nellys’ family has been murdered in the holocaust and needs to find her husband.

She comes across him at a bar called The Phoenix, and given her appearance has changed from her surgery Johnny ( Ronald Zehrfeld ) doesn’t recognise her and seizes the opportunity to have Nelly who he thinks slightly resembles his, as he thought, dead wife to  try and defraud her remaining relatives of her inheritance.

Nelly plays along to to see if her hopes and the feelings she had that had kept her going were true. Did Johnny love her?  also who gave her up to the Nazis whilst she was in her hiding place and banish Nelly to a living hell and the concentration camps!

It is a well thought out drama that is gripping and captivating as it delves into the age old story of love and deception.


The Phoenix ( 2015 )