The Odyssey Online- Third Issue

Review: Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix” (2014)

A Powerful, Psychological Thriller That Questions What It Means To Survive the Holocaust

The Odyssey Online

Opening Scene: Nelly is being driven across the border by her friend, Lene, her head completely wrapped in bandages. When a guard refuses to let them pass through a checkpoint without her first removing the dressings, the camera cuts from her slowly unwinding the strips to the guard’s shamefaced reaction to the damage unveiled. Quickly ordering the other guards to let them go, they continue on their way to a doctor who is able to perform facial reconstruction surgery. Still alive because the Nazis had assumed she was dead from a gunshot wound to the face, Nelly is able to afford surgery through inheritance—she is the lone member of her family to survive the Holocaust.
 

There have been many powerful films created about the inhumanity perpetrated against the millions sent to concentration camps. Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix” (2014) focuses on what it means to survive and the psychological toll of redefining who you are after so much loss. Ruthlessly tense and with a can’t-look-away-from lead performance by Nina Hoss as Nelly Lenz (also star of Petzold’s movie, “Barbara”), the film gets its shock, not from trying to recreate the historical violence which can only ever pale against the real thing, but instead adheres to the thinking that sometimes it’s worse to leave the unimaginable to the imagination. From the very first scene, of not showing Nelly’s face, Petzold stays loyal to this idea and while his film may lack in blood and gore this is no way reflects a censorship or softening of the realities of genocide. If anything Nelly has her fair share of both physical and mental trauma to struggle with, as she continues to cling to the one hope that kept her going in the camps: that of reuniting with her German husband, Johnny.

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The Odyssey Online- Second Issue

How I Got Away With(out) Facebook

Having resisted the popular social media website this long, is it finally time to cave?

The Odyssey Online

Not having a Facebook account as a college student in 2015 is a pretty rare thing. Being able to access the internet and not have a Facebook account is an anomaly in its own right. Yet while it doesn’t come up as often as you might think, word of my Facebookless-ness usually gets met with one of five versions of shock.
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The Odyssey Online- First Issue

Keeping the Movies Safe

My experience going to the cinema again in the wake of recent shootings.

The Odyssey

Upsetting headlines are not hard to come by in the news. If anything what’s surprising is their horrifying ability to become white noise. Yet there’s always a few that you didn’t see coming—a few that you dread reading as they break through the rest and punch you in the gut at a new societal low—make you stop every time you catch an update in the paper or a report on the news with feelings as fresh as those felt on day one.

The theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado during the premiere of “The Dark Knight” on July 20, 2012 left me frozen. Mostly it left twelve, innocent movie-goers dead, along with seventy more injured.
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