As German culture continues to grapple with WWII and its echoes, so does German cinema, and at the forefront of Deutschland’s new wave of filmmaking, and arguably world cinema on a whole, is Christian Petzold. The young filmmaker broke out on an international level with his powerful 2008 feature “Jerichow,” and his equally engrossing 2012 effort, “Barbara,” only further cemented that reputation. Now the director has returned with “Phoenix,” and the first U.S. trailer has arrived.
The movie made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and stars Petzold’s frequent collaborator and current muse, Nina Hoss, who starred in both aforementioned dramas, as well as 2007’s “Yella.” Here’s the official synopsis. It’s kind of a high concept film, but it sounds bold and intriguing.
Set after the Second World War, PHOENIX tells the story of Nelly, a disfigured Holocaust survivor (Nina Hoss). Unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, Nelly returns to find out if her husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) has betrayed her or loves her.
Our review from TIFF last year wrote, “When you have a filmmaker with a deep understanding of what makes films breathe and an uncanny capability for absolute control, a familiar canvass can be an advantage. This is precisely what it is with Christian Petzold and his extravagant, eloquent and deeply effective film.” Given Petzold’s track-record, this makes “Phoenix” another must-see effort. IFC Films will release “Phoenix” August 1st. Watch the first official U.S. trailer below.