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The Curtain Rises: On the Power of Christian Petzold’s Phoenix | Far Flungers

Within the opening scene, we see two ladies of their automotive, which have simply been stopped by American troopers at a checkpoint. When one of many American troopers notices that one in all these two ladies is closely bandaged on her head, he understandably turns into suspicious and calls for she unbind her bandage. The digicam doesn’t present her naked face instantly, however the soldier’s horrified response is greater than sufficient for us to guess how horrible she appears in her injured state.

It isn’t lengthy after the top of World Conflict II, and Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss) goes to Berlin alongside together with her good friend Lene Winter (Nina Kunzendorf), primarily for her therapy and restoration. After being arrested in late 1944, Nelly was promptly despatched to Auschwitz, however she managed to outlive in the long run, and we come to collect that she sustained her severe facial damage round that point. When she is examined by a really skillful plastic surgeon, the physician says that it is going to be simpler to assemble a brand new face for her as an alternative of making an attempt to reconstruct her authentic face, however Nelly, who occurs to be rich sufficient to pay for her costly surgical procedure is adamant about getting her authentic face again.

After the profitable reconstruction surgical procedure, Nelly adjusts to her new face and surroundings with Lene’s assist, although it takes a while to get used to her new look. It doesn’t appear to be wholly completely different from the previous one, nevertheless it appears and feels completely different to her and others. She and Lene hire a reasonably good house, which shall be their momentary staying place for now, they usually additionally rent a resourceful housekeeper, who can at all times put together first rate meals for them despite the poor provide of many cooking substances in post-war Berlin. Lene, who has been working at an company dealing with the information of Holocaust victims and survivors, is planning to maneuver to Palestine for the brand new starting for her and Nelly sometime, however Nelly shouldn’t be so positive about whether or not she actually desires that or not.

In the meantime, Nelly searches for her pianist husband Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld, who appeared together with Hoss in Petzold’s “Barbara”). Earlier than their life was disrupted throughout the battle, she was a singer who labored together with her husband, and he helped cover her, however plainly he was instantly liable for her seize. In accordance with an official report, Johnny was arrested after which launched shortly earlier than she was arrested, and this clearly suggests his betrayal, even when Nelly has hassle believing it.

Nelly finally finds Johnny, however he now not works as a pianist. Working at a seedy nightclub named Phoenix, he now prefers to be known as Johannes as an alternative of Johnny, and he doesn’t even acknowledge his spouse once they lastly meet once more. To him, Nelly is merely a girl who occurs to carefully resemble his useless spouse. After which it seems that Johnny has a scheme wherein Nelly could also be fairly helpful. In search of any likelihood to get his arms on his useless spouse’s appreciable fortune, Johnny asks Nelly to disguise herself as, effectively, herself. Although she doesn’t reveal her identification, Nelly finds herself turning into her husband’s prepared confederate whereas unpacking the conflicted she has about him.

https://www.rogerebert.com/far-flung-correspondents/the-curtain-rises-on-the-power-of-christian-petzolds-phoenix | The Curtain Rises: On the Energy of Christian Petzold’s Phoenix | Far Flungers

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