Phoenix
Title Details

88 Pages

19 x 13.3 cm

40 colour. 5 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Camden House German Film Classics

Imprint: Camden House

Phoenix

by Brad Prager

  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
Offers not only a close reading but also a film-historical contextualization of Phoenix, constituting the most significant and thorough study of Petzold's film to date.
Christian Petzold's Phoenix (2014), a masterpiece from one of Germany's leading contemporary filmmakers, portrays a death-camp survivor's return to occupied Berlin just after the war has come to an end. Nelly, played by German film star Nina Hoss, returns badly wounded, her face covered in bandages, hoping that her German husband will still love her. Johnny fails to recognize her and instead offers her a role in an intricate criminal scheme. Petzold's film, which he scripted together with his frequent collaborator Harun Farocki, was an international success that has been widely compared with works by Alfred Hitchcock and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This study explores the film's unique array of influences including the vast range of films, novels, and memoirs on which its screenwriters drew. Its central argument concerns the film's integration of a long history of German-Jewish works and ideas-its attempt to confront its audience with a neglected tradition that included figures as diverse as Peter Lorre, Fred Zinnemann, and Hannah Arendt. Offering a close reading of the film's themes, compositions, and music alongside a film-historical contextualization, this book constitutes the most significant and thorough study of Phoenix to date.

Brad Prager is Professor of German and Film Studies at the University of Missouri.

Brad Prager is associate professor of German at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

"[This book] made a big impression on me. The author sets off on a search for... filmic influences on the director Christian Petzold and his co-author Harun Farocki... . [R]eads suspensefully and enhances one's perception of Christian Petzold's film." HHPRINZLER.DE
"[Prager's book] serves as a well-informed introduction to the complex system of cultural references in the film and as an inspiration for further analyses (beyond the context of the Berlin School)." Eileen Rositzka, FILMBLATT
"There is no question: in Brad Prager Phoenix has found an ideal interpreter. . . . With crystal-clear argumentation, Prager's splendidly written book shows that this is . . . a very good film, and possibly one of Petzold's best. . . . Prager's book, first-rate in every respect, delivers an outstanding argument for the film having a firm place in the cinematic canon of the Federal Republic." Jörn Glasenapp, MEDIENwissenschaft
"Prager's analysis of Phoenix leaves no stone unturned. . . . . [He] simultaneously unpacks key scenes throughout the film and highlights compelling parallels between Phoenix and other films that inspired [it]." Jeanne Schueller, MONATSHEFTE

Paperback

9781640140387

September 2019

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9781787445703

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Title Details

88 Pages

1.9 x 1.33 cm

40 colour. 5 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Camden House German Film Classics

Imprint: Camden House