Filmmaker Werner Herzog does it all. He is perhaps best known as a director but he is also a writer, a producer, and, from time to time, an actor. Since directing his first short in the early 60s, he helped shape the New German Cinema movement along with the likes of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Wim Wenders, and Volker Schlöndorff. Herzog has been incredibly prolific with both feature films and documentaries on his resume.
How is all of that for a sales pitch? If you’re not already familiar with the films of Werner Herzog, now is a great time to get to do so and practice some German along the way!
With piercing blue eyes, if you have already seen actor Benno Fürmann in a film, you would probably remember him. And with over 100 acting credits to his name in film and television, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
For this month’s German film recommendations to help you learn German, let’s better get to know Benno Fürmann with three great films: North Wall (Nordwand), Jerichow and The Princess and the Warrior (Der Krieger und die Kaiserin).
Martina Gedeck is an acclaimed actress who is well respected and has dozens of awards to her name. Gedeck’s trademark is not being pigeonholed: she’s appeared in comedies, dramas, and everywhere in between. And she is known for major roles in German films including The Lives of Others and The Baader Meinhof Complex. If you are not already familiar with Martina Gedeck, now is most definitely the time to become familiar with this talented actress.
This month’s German film recommendations for practicing your German skills are Jew Suss: Rise and Fall (Jud Süss – Film ohne Gewissen), The Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen) and Mostly Martha (Bella Martha).
For nearly forty years, actor Ulrich Tukur has been appearing in television and films. And in that time, he has not allowed himself to be pigeonholed. He has starred in dramatic films retelling important moments of history, clever comedies, and everywhere in between. So this month, let’s get to know the award-winning actor Ulrich Tukur and learn German with film!
Before the days of streaming all day every day, television offered a special connection with its audience. Whereas films are an occasional commitment of a couple of hours, television shows are a weekly part of life. The characters and settings become personal. And with tv shows set in Munich and across Bavaria, you truly get to experience the region in a new way.
You can be entertained with a humorous take on everyday life or become immersed in a local crime series. There are options for whatever strikes your fancy.
If you speak German, the options are seemingly endless. But thanks to today’s connected world, many streaming services offer English language subtitles for shows.
If you’re a fan of German cinema or the art house scene of the 1970s, then you’re likely already familiar with Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The German director, writer, and actor is considered to be an important figure in the New German Cinema movement that took place from the 1960s until the 1980s.
The Criterion Collection has honored a number of his films. The works are typically low budget, filmed quickly, and full of gritty realism along with commentary on society. Although Fassbinder died in 1982 at the age of 37, he made an astonishing 40 full-length films.
This month, let’s better get to know Rainer Werner Fassbinder and practice the German language at the same time.
While it certainly is not as fun as being there in person, you can immerse yourself in all that Munich and Bavaria have to offer from your sofa. Or wherever you prefer to watch!
That is right: I am talking about movies filmed in Munich and around the state of Bavaria. You can fill an afternoon with a romantic comedy or learn something new with a historical drama. There are options for whatever strikes your fancy, although the options are more limited if you do not speak German.
If you want to experience Bavaria without seeing a film that is set in the German state, keep reading! I have some honorable mentions that might surprise you.
So, go ahead, grab a Bavarian Bier (or your favorite beverage) plus some popcorn, and check out these movies filmed in Munich (and Bavaria)!
If you are not yet familiar with German filmmaker Fatih Akin, then now is the time. One of my favorite directors, Akin continues to wow filmgoers with films that range from dramas touching on political, societal, and cultural issues, fun comedies, and even a documentary with an international flair.
So this month, practice German with films and get to know Fatih Akin with his movies Gegen die Wand, Crossing The Bridge – The Sound of Istanbul, and Soul Kitchen!
You may not know it, but you probably are already familiar with German actor Daniel Brühl. He has been quietly but consistently working and gaining experience with stellar role after stellar role in film and television projects.
Most recently he’s made a bit of a cross-over into the English language Hollywood market.
Perhaps you know him as Fredrick Zoller, the Nazi war hero, in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds or as Austrian F1 race car driver Niki Lauda in Ron Howard’s Rush — for which he earned himself an Oscar nomination — or as Julian Assange’s business partner Daniel Domscheit-Berg in The Fifth Estate.
Daniel Brühl has made some enjoyable and thought-provoking films in German that are definitely worth seeing!
So this month, let’s get to know this talented actor for three of his many German-language roles. Practice your German skills with Daniel Brühl and the films Good Bye, Lenin!, Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei, and Der ganz große Traum!
Whether he is gracing the big screen or your television screen, Stipe Erceg can be difficult to miss. With his gaunt and chiseled features surrounding deep-set eyes, the actor is memorable before he has even spoken a word. You may already know Erceg for his roles in English language thrillers such as Unknown, starring Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger, or The Fourth State, starring Moritz Bleibtreu.
Stuttgart-born actress Nina Hoss could easily be filed under German actors you didn’t know you already know. Fans of the hit political television drama Homeland may recognize her as Astrid. Hoss has appeared in several episodes of the show as a German embassy worker and Peter Quinn’s former flame.
Or perhaps you may know her from the big screen in A Most Wanted Man where she worked alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, and fellow German Daniel Brühl. But her talents are not merely limited to acting. Hoss collaborated in 2014 with the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers on their track “Europa geht durch mich” off their album Futurology.
But this month we’re getting to know Nina Hoss for her remarkable acting. Hoss has starring roles in some films that are interesting, intruiging, and great for learning German. I’m highlighting three of Hoss’ films: A Girl Called Rosemarie (Das Mädchen Rosemarie), The Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen), and Jerichow!