From German director Christian Petzold, Phoenix is a haunting post-war noir beautifully staring Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld as a couple ravaged by war and their own deceit.
In the wake of World War II, Nelly Lenz, a Jewish nightclub singer escapes from Auschwitz with nothing. She has lost her job, family, husband, and recognition of herself to a gunshot wound. Nelly is about to undergo reconstructive surgery to fix her disfigured face. She recovers but looks different enough to be unrecognizable as her old self. She is cursed, or blessed, with this new transformation, as she reunites with Johnny, the faithless husband who betrayed her to the Nazis to save his own skin. Seeing the resemblance to Nelly, Esther - as she now calls herself - agrees to help Johnny pose as his late wife to collect her inheritance. The fantastical and thrilling plot will keep you guessing through to the end of the 98 minute long film.
For more of the beautiful lead, Nina Hoss, check out the DVD Barbara. For more foreign melodramas try the Chinese film Coming Home. Like World War II epics? Check out the Hungarian film Son of Saul.
Review by Stevie Z.