Turkish German actor Birol Ünel is an actor who does it all. He’s done theater, he’s done film, and he’s done television. He’s appeared in music videos, such as hip hop group K.I.Z‘s “Abteilungsleiter der Liebe.” Ünel has also appeared in such English language films as Enemy at the Gates as well as Turkish films. But he’s had a number of notable German language roles in films and television. Let’s get to know Birol Ünel as this month’s German language film recommendations.
About Birol Ünel
Birol Ünel was born in southern Turkey in 1961. Seven years later the family relocated to Germany. They settled in Brinkum in northwestern Germany near Bremen.
Ünel made his on-screen debut in 1988’s The Passenger – Welcome to Germany, starring film legend Tony Curtis. But it’s his work with the highly respected German director Fatih Akin that really boosted his name.
Sadly, on September 3, 2020, Ünel passed away. He was 59 years old.
Gegen die Wand (Head-On)
Cahit (Ünel) is a stand-offish, suicidal man with anger and drug problems. Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) manipulates Cahit into marrying her so that she can escape her conservative Turkish-German family. Needless to say, he isn’t very happy about it. She struggles to make their situation work while exploring her new freedom as a young woman in Hamburg, indulging in nightlife and short skirts. The highly acclaimed film, from 2004, is written and directed by Akin. The story follows their struggles to connect.
Der Mond und andere Liebhaber (The Moon and Other Lovers)
In 2008’s Der Mond und andere Liebhaber, the story focuses on Hanna. Life hasn’t been easy for Hanna as she seems to get knocked down quite frequently. But each time she gets right back up. She eventually meets and begins a passionate love affair with Gansar (Ünel). But when that relationship fails, Hanna is left to do as she always does and simply keeps going. World events contribute to the story with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany swirling around her.
The film stars Katharina Thalbach, a German actress who has appeared in such notable films as The Tin Drum, Sophie’s Choice as well as The Passenger.
Goofy and silly, 2009’s Soul Kitchen is a light-hearted comedy about a young Greek-German, Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos), who opens his own restaurant while his girlfriend is abroad for work. Things aren’t going so well in the restaurant business so Zinos hires Shayn (Ünel), a difficult-to-work-with chef who’s more used to fine dining than casual food. Add to that Zinos’ reoccurring back problems and Zinos’ shady brother (Moritz Bleibtreu), fresh out of prison, for some extra comedic moments.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German language actors and actresses previously featured.
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