To say that actor Moritz Bleibtreu is a busy man is an understatement. He has nearly 100 acting credits to his name during his almost 40-year career. That is pretty impressive. He has appeared in major English language films like Woman in Gold, The Fifth Estate, Speed Racer, and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. But his film credits in the German language are equally as impressive. His roles are wide-ranging, showing his abilities at his craft. So this month, let’s learn German with the films of Moritz Bleibtreu.
Get to Know Moritz Bleibtreu
Moritz Bleibtreu was born on August 13, 1971, in Munich, Germany, to two Austrian actors: Monic Bleibtreu and Hans Brenner. He has a long and prestigious family line that further includes a number of actors as well as an Austrian writer, Renato Attilio Bleibtreu. Clearly, he has followed in the family tradition.
As a child, Bleibtreu grew up in Hamburg. He began acting early. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, his mother co-wrote a children’s show which Bleibtreu appeared on. Additional small roles in television followed.
After getting his Realschulabschluss, a sort of high school degree equivalent, Bleibtrue moved to Paris, France. He learned French and worked as an au pair. He then moved to Italy, New York, and then finally returned to Hamburg. He took acting lessons along his journey and earned further roles.
Eventually, those roles became larger. 1997’s Knockin on Heaven’s Door won him the German film prize for best supporting actor and the Ernst-Lubitsch-Preis. The performance served as a sort of turning point in his career.
Run Lola Run
In the film, Lola (portrayed by Franka Potente) receives a desperate call from her boyfriend, Manni (portrayed by Bleibtreu). He was tasked by a drug dealer with delivering 100,000 Deutschmarks. But on the subway, he loses the bag. He needs Lola’s help. She has twenty minutes to figure something out and get him the money.
Run Lola Run sees the characters run through three possible scenarios for getting the money, each time the characters show a hint of awareness.
The Baader Meinhof Complex
In the early 1970s, a far-left militant group formed in West Germany. Named the Red Army Faction (or Rote Armee Fraktion) or the Baader-Meinhof Group, they spent much of that decade carrying out kidnappings, robberies, and bombings.
The 2008 film The Baader Meinhof Complex from Uli Edel explores the terrorist organization. Bleibtreu portrays co-founder Andreas Baader while Martina Gedeck stars as Ulrike Meinhof and Johanna Wokalek as Gudrun Ensslin. The story follows the group’s origins as journalist Meinhof covers the trial of partners in love and crime Baader and Ensslin. (The pair were ultimately convicted of firebombing a Frankfurt department store.) Swept up by the charming pair and their rhetoric, Meinhof joins them and the three form the RAF.
If you’re looking for a thriller, you need to check out Das Experiment. The 2001 film from Oliver Hirschbiegel adapts the story of the 1971 Stanford prison experiment for the big screen.
In the film, Moritz Bleibtreu stars as Tarek, a taxi driver looking to make some easy money participating in a study. The premise is simple. Participants are put into one of two groups, prisoners or guards. The goal was simple enough: to see the psychological effects. And just like that, Tarek is now Prisoner Number 77.
Things start off all right but the tension quickly escalates. The guards become aware of their power and commit abuses. What began as an experiment, is suddenly very real. Perhaps, too real.
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Top photo by Mathias Bothor, used courtesy of Players. This post contains affiliate links.