Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Phoenix 2014

Directed by Christian Petzold

The director and riveting star of Barbara reunite for another moving film noir-inflected tale of love and profound suspicion, this time set amidst the reconstruction of Berlin in the immediate aftermath of WWII.

Germany / Poland In English and German with English subtitles
98 minutes DCP
adult themes

Producers

Florian Koerner Von Gustorf
,
Michael Weber

Screenplay

Christian Petzold
,
with the collaboration of Harun Farocki. Based on the novel Le Retour des cendres by Hubert Monteilhet

Photography

Hans Fromm

Editor

Bettina Böhler

Production designer

K.D. Gruber

Costume designer

Anette Guther

Music

Stefan Will

With

Nina Hoss (Nelly Lenz)
,
Ronald Zehrfeld (Johnny Lenz)
,
Nina Kunzendorf (Lene Winter)
,
Trystan Pütter (soldier on the bridge)
,
Michael Maertens (doctor)
,
Imogen Kogge (Elisabeth/Sigrid)
,
Felix Römer (violinist)
,
Uwe Preuss (club manager)
,
Frank Seppeler (Alfred)
,
Kathrin Wehlisch (Monika)
,
Michael Wenninger (Walther)
,
Claudia Geisler (Frederike)

Awards

FIPRESCI Prize
,
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2014

Festivals

Toronto
,
San Sebastián
,
Vancouver
,
London 2014
,
Rotterdam 2015

Elsewhere

German director Christian Petzold and his actress muse Nina Hoss follow up Barbara (2012) with Phoenix, an almost Hitchcockian drama of mistaken identity set in Berlin immediately after WWII. Hoss plays Nelly, a jazz singer, injured while escaping from a concentration camp. Successful reconstructive surgery has rendered her barely recognisable to her few surviving acquaintances. Despite their warnings, she searches the blitzed city hoping to confront the missing husband who may have betrayed her to the Nazis in the first place. When he fails to recognise her, a bizarre new courtship ensues. The film is a haunted chamber piece, finding new depths of experience in one of the great heartbroken songs of all time: Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash’s ‘Speak Low (When You Speak Love)’.

Phoenix once again proves that German filmmaker Christian Petzold and his favorite star, Nina Hoss, are clearly one of the best director–actor duos working in movies today… The plot alone would probably make this latest effort worthy enough, but it’s the masterly craftsmanship and performances that reveal Petzold to be at the top of his game.” — Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter

“Petzold is probing away at the nature of love, memory and betrayal. There are layers and layers of deception… Hoss is an extraordinarily expressive and soulful actress, able to convey her character’s fragility and fear as well as her determination to confront her past… As more wartime lies are exposed, the real drama here is less in the outrageous plot twists than in the quiet but searing intensity of Hoss’s performance.” — Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent