Amazon Studios’ suspenseful new thriller is…German?! The latest offering from the online giant’s lineup of original programming is You Are Wanted. The series features German movie star Matthias Schweighöfer struggling against a faceless cyber foe that has hacked his mobile devices and is causing chaos in his life: both personally and professionally. What’s more, the series is filmed in the German language and has been made available outside of Germany.
Born and raised in the Steglitz neighborhood of Berlin, actor Frederick Lau is only in his mid-twenties but he’s been busy since getting into the film industry. His credits include movies, television shows, television films, and even music videos. You might already know him from his roles in English language films such as Die Gräfin or recent art house hit Victoria. (Although, admittedly, that latter film is a mixture of English and German.) In fact, he won a best actor award for portrayed Sonne in Victoria.
This month’s featured German film recommendations for German learners is Frederick Lau. Get to know him better while practicing your German language skills. Check out these three films starring Lau.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. There is no better advice I can give to someone looking to learn a foreign language. For those looking to practice their listening skills, television soaps are ideal. Think about it. There are lots of episodes, including many that have a new episode every weekday. The regularity means you get invested in the characters and the storylines. But that means you have motivation to keep learning. The regularity also makes it a little easier to follow as the same words and phrases are likely to be reused.
Get practicing! Here are five German TV soaps you can stream at home or on the go.
Heiner Lauterbach is a veteran. He has more than forty years in the film industry so it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s already crossed your path. The actor has an impressive array of television and films on his resume, not to mention theater. And his resume is growing regularly. Already this year, Lauterbach is in three films for the big and small screens. From comedy to drama, Heiner Lauterbach has done it all. This month’s featured German film recommendations for German learners is Heiner Lauterbach!
There is a chance you have already seen a film by this month’s German film feature Christian Petzold. The director and screenwriter has worked four times with actress Nina Hoss, whose work has been previously highlighted. He has nearly as many television films to his name as full-length feature films. While Petzold has not been as prolific with his work as some, the films he makes are weighty, serious ones that leave you with something to think about.
Each month I highlight different individuals working in German films. This means directors to actors, to screenwriters and filmmakers. As a German learner myself, I know how important it is to train your ear to hear and comprehend the spoken language. This year, I’ve featured 11 different directors and actors who work in German film. There is quite a range. From established and highly respected filmmakers like Volker Schlöndorff to relative but notable newcomers like actor Ludwig Trepte, there is no shortage. So what are you waiting for?! Let’s take a look back at 2016!
Born in Wiesbaden, Germany but raised in Paris, France, Volker Schlöndorff is part of Germany’s New German Cinema. The movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s saw inspiring German film makers like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders burst onto the scene. These film makers have pushed boundaries and changed the way films were made and viewed. The effect is still visible today.
Schlöndorff was at the helm as director for a number of notable films. His film version of Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum won him an Oscar. Following his success in German cinema, he branched out to English language films. Today, his films don’t stick to a single language but are still tackling serious topics. Take, for example, 2014’s Diplomacy. Set in a single night near the end of World War II, the film follows Sweden’s ambassador to France as he tries to use diplomatic means to convince a German general not to destroy Paris as the country withdraws from the city. Volker Schlöndorff is also set to release Return to Montauk in 2017, starring Nina Hoss and Stellan Skarsgård.
If Sebastian Koch looks familiar, it would not be all too surprising. In recent years the Karlsruhe-born, Stuttgart-raised actor has been popping up in Hollywood. He portrayed pioneering sexual reassignment surgeon Dr. Kurt Warnekros in 2015’s The Danish Girl, Stasi-employed lawyer Wolfgang Vogel in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and as the boss of Carrie Mathison (aka Claire Danes) on the fifth season of Homeland. Koch has a large filmography of notable films in German, as well as English. Many of the films have a political twist, relating to the Second World War or the Cold War. Get to know Sebastian Koch and practice your German language skills with this month’s German film recommendations.
Armin Mueller-Stahl is a man who has repeatedly had to reestablish himself. First, as an actor of the film and stage in East Germany. Then, in the mid-1970s he was blacklisted along with others for protesting when singer-songwriter Karl Wolf Biermann was stripped of his East German citizenship while on tour in West Germany. Mueller-Stahl himself emigrated to West Germany in 1980. He again found work in film. The actor then set his sights on Hollywood. There, he proved himself yet again with a transition to English language films. In 1996, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film Shine.
Get to know Armin Mueller-Stahl and practice your German skills with three of his films from both sides of the German-German border: Her Third, Lola, and Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman.
If this month’s featured German actor looks familiar you may not be mistaken. When hipster art-house director Wes Anderson made The Grand Budapest Hotel, it made sense for him to cast European actors in a very European flavored film. One of those cast is Florian Lukas. The Berlin-based actor portrayed Pinky, one of the prisoners that Monsieur Gustave (played by Ralph Fiennes) befriends.
But Lukas can’t be accused of going Hollywood. The actor has a long list of credits in German language films and television. This month’s German language film recommendations for German language learners features Florian Lukas’ Nordwand, Die Fremde, and Good Bye, Lenin!