For the past 14 years German director Christian Petzold has been steadily building up a reputation as a post-renuifciation master, subverting genre plots and tropes into fascinating and haunting meditations on modern (and the largely still fractured) Germany. But with 2012's Barbara
, Petzold's most high profile film yet, he went back to the days of the iron curtain to conjure a story of empowerment, sacrifice and defiance. He now looks to be rocketing into the upper echelons of prestigious world cinema with his latest, a Post-WWII set work entitled Phoenix
Bowing at Toronto this past week, Petzold's seventh feature film (not counting some fine television work) sees his often muse Nina Hoss as a concentration camp survivor. Undergoing extensive facial surgery for the wounds she received at the hands of the Nazis, Hoss meets up with her husband, played by Ronald Zehrfeld
, who doesn't recognize her as his wife (he assumes she is to be dead), but sees the resemblance enough to use her for a scheme he's concocting.
While there's been some sure fire buzz out of the fest for mostly Midnight Madness flicks, Phoenix
, a more formally quiet film lets say, has been getting raves
. And frankly, as someone who is a massive fan of both Petzold and Hoss, this comes as no surprise. What you have here are two finely-tuned and mature artists in the flow, working with collaborators who are just as sharp. The trailer, embedded below, presents a cool, calculating look into post-war Berlin, with gorgeously moody dives and alleys; the city's night life spotlit by gauzy reds and dingy browns, before being swallowed up into a seemingly impenetrable velveteen black.
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