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Directed by Christian Petzold

Germany 2014 98 mins. In German

Petzold’s riveting film follows Nelly (Nina Hoss), a concentration camp survivor returning to Berlin, in her search for Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), the husband she still loves who may or may not have betrayed her to the Nazis. Set in the period immediately following the war that gave rise to the Trümmerfilm (literally “rubble film”)—or “After the Camp,” as Petzold puts it—Phoenix is an engrossing reflection on the postwar reconstruction of identity couched as a noirish thriller of mistaken identity. Co-written with the late writer/artist Harun Farocki, it is a precisely crafted chamber piece, resonant and gripping, softly building up to knock-out finale. “The final scene, without spoiling anything, is a movie moment for the ages.”—Roger