Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(Germany, 2014)

An interesting idea here. Nelly was recently released from a concentration camp, probably around 1946. She had been shot in the face by a fucking Nazi, and left for dead. This screwed up her face pretty badly (and we never see that), but a very good plastic surgeon re-builds her. She wanted to look just like she did before, but that is beyond his powers. Still, she is quite pretty. Her good friend Lene wants to take her to Palestine to help in the formation of a Jewish state, but she is obsessed with finding her husband, Johnny, a piano player. Nelly was a singer. Lene tells her that would be a bad mistake, as hubby was arrested on June 4, 1944, and released June 6, the same day she was arrested. No way that’s a coincidence; he turned her in. But Nelly doesn’t believe it.

She finds him, and he doesn’t recognize her, except to the extent she resembles his “dead” wife … which just happens to be exactly what he’s looking for, since Nelly is about to come into some serious money. He offers to split the money if she can pass herself off as Nelly.

So we have an odd sort of Pygmalion situation, where Nelly is being trained to look, act, talk, and even write like … herself. I thought he might have become a little suspicious of her ability to mimic Nelly’s handwriting with no practice at all, but Johnny is not all that bright, no matter what he thinks of himself. But there is one part of her that he hasn’t experienced yet, and that is her singing voice …

I thought there might be a one in a thousand chance that Johnny was innocent. You know, a twist ending or something like that. I’ll set your mind at ease without even a spoiler warning: the motherfucker is as guilty as Hitler. He betrayed her to save his own skin. So the look on his face when she finally sings for him, when it dawns on him what is going on …well, it’s priceless. The only question remaining is, will she shoot him?

I really enjoyed this. I was a bit disappointed with her for sticking with such an obvious loser. Wondered what the hell she saw in him. Then I realized that, before anything was really at stake he probably could have been a fun guy to be around. It was only when the scheiße hit the lüfter that his true nature was revealed. And as to why she stayed with him … she says to Lene that the only thing that sustained her through the horrors of the camp was the thought of getting out and being with him. That I can understand. She was holding on to an image. It took her quite a while to let go of that and see him as he really was. But she finally did.