Aug 2, 2015

Relief From Summer Blockbusters

A still from Christian Petzold's Phoenix depicts Nelly (Nina Hoss), an Auschwitz survivor. 
For those who want to escape the usual summer fare, and see films intended for adults, Christian Petzold's Phoenix (in German with English subtitles) and Stevan Riley's Listen to Me Marlon are both terrific choices, as is Nadav Lapid's The Kindergarten Teacher, (See my FB page, March 9th: GarciaNYC).

Some readers may have seen Petzold's previous film Barbara (2014), set in East Germany, which is about a medical doctor hounded by the secret police. It starred Nina Hoss, the German writer-director's frequent collaborator. In Phoenix Hoss plays Nelly, a Jewish singer who survives Auschwitz only to find that her German husband may have betrayed her. My Film Journal International review is here:

Listen to Me Marlon is a documentary based on two hundred hours of audiotapes Marlon Brando recorded, in part because he was engaging in what he called "self-therapy." Having given up on psychotherapy, the iconic actor just started talking to himself. Because these recordings constitute the entire narrative track, it feels as though Brando is telling his own story. Riley's stills and archival footage are as skillfully edited as the soundtrack. Read my Film Journal International here: