Our 2015 Seattle International Film Festival audience was pleasantly surprised by this award-winning story from Germany (English captions) about a Holocaust survivor who must endure facial reconstruction surgery after she is freed. This means her husband doesn't recognize her but wants to recruit her to pretend to be his deceased wife (!?) so he can inherit her family's money. Ya got that so far? It really is NOT confusing, except maybe to her...

Director Christian Petzold successfully brings us war-torn Berlin and wonderful performances from:
  • Nina Hoss as Nelly Lenz, cruelly hurt physically by the Nazis and broken hearted besides. She had been a cabaret singer (her husband accompanied her on the piano) and we hear bits and pieces of the 40s popular song Speak Low from the earliest scenes.
  • Nina Kunzendorf, whose Lene is determined to help Nelly recuperate. She wants to move her to Palestine (Israel isn't yet a country) for safekeeping.
  • Ronald Zehrfeld is the handsome Johnny ("Johannes"), toiling in a rubble-strewn nightclub watching for a chance to inherit his wife's money.
We meet others from her former social circle and try to remember which ones had marks on their photographs that identified them as Nazis. She's not sure who betrayed her.

We watch him teach her how to forge her own signature, style her own hair, tailor her own clothes, etc. It's obvious that he knew his wife very, very well and she finds that flattering, to the dismay of her friend Lene. I really liked that final scene.
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This trailer has English captions:
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Festival Screening: 
Sunday, May 31 - 7:15 PM @ Egyptian