1975 15 min sound 16mm
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I dedicated Phenix to my father Franjo Zdravič, reconstructive surgeon, because he opened a new world of beauty and meaning for me. For some two weeks he led my way through rooms of very special climate - Ljubljana Medical Centre Burns Department - where threads of sighs, of nightmarish dreams, of misery, of compassion, of joy, are woven with hands of calm determination: to inflict wounds to a living being in order to give him/her a new form and function.
AZ, 1975

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Phenix-2T1975-AZdravic 300

“I have never seen any of Zdravič’s work before but what I saw last Wednesday left me so intrigued that I am anxiously looking forward to seeing more of his work. I saw part of his surgery room film (Phenix), shot in Yugoslavia. It has an extraordinary visual and emotional power.” 
Jonas Mekas, Soho Weekly News, New York, 1976

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“Andrej Zdravič brings to his work in film a rare sensitivity and responsiveness to visual and aural phenomena. Phenix, a film which graphically depicts the process of plastic surgery, becomes in Zdravič's hands a dispassionate meditation on mortality. Like Stan Brakhage's autopsy film, ‘The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes’, and Hollis Frampton's cadaverous ‘Magellan at the Gates of Death’, Zdravič's film is a disquieting work which places both the filmmaker and viewer face to face with the limits of physical existence. Like Brakhage and Frampton, Zdravič appropriates the clinical context for a direct engagement in the human condition, for a heroic (and these are works which demand great courage) encounter with death. But, as its title suggests, Phenix expresses a commitment to life, to a reborn physicality. Zdravič engages the viewer of Phenix in a transcendent journey from the physical to the metaphysical, from the horrific to the sublime.” 
Bruce Jenkins, Beau Fleuve Journal, Buffalo, NY, 1975

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"...The brief, but powerful, documentary witnesses deeds that, though rivetingly physical, do not call on prurience for their referential energy: bits of operations performed by the film-maker’s father, a celebrated Yugoslav plastic surgeon, in a clinic in Ljubljana. Patients include victims of accidents both violent and circumstantial (grotesque birth defects); the work that transforms them makes for a hair-raising camera-eye view of amazing skill, professional detachment, artistic inspiration and seemingly superhuman compassion. The effect is first shocking, then soothing: immediately visceral, subsequently spiritual. The 14 minutes of the piece stretch to dimensions greater than clock hands allow...

Zdravič made Phenix in his early 20s; it was one of his first finished efforts, though its finesse with such strong material belies a neophyte’s touch. The film’s unobtrusive sense of form - brief sequences bracketed by fade-outs, over which a sound track of heightened breathing susurrates - accommodates both its unnerving contents and a viewer’s presumed need to assimilate strong medicine in small doses."
Calvin Ahlgren, San Francisco Chronicle, 1991