Sydney Film Festival: Phoenix (2014)

I spent so long trying to untangle the allegorical and psychological underpinning of Christian Petzold’s post-Holocaust drama, Phoenix, that it took me a while to recognise how profoundly unmoved it left me. It’s not that I couldn’t embrace its implausible premise – where a concentration camp survivor (Nina Hoss) returns to her husband (Ronald Zehrfeld)…

Ida (2013)

Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida is a contemplative experience defined by its restrained emotionality, cool black-and-white photography and its static, reflective mise en scène. The film tells the tale of Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), a young novice nun who’s lived with sisters for her entire life, who’s sent to visit her aunt, Wanda (Agata Kulesza). Former Stalinist prosecutor…