Last month I debuted the new German Film feature on the blog to help German language learners to find worthwhile German films to watch for practice. Last time I featured German filmmaker Fatih Akin and this month I’m featuring a German actor who was in Akin’s Soul Kitchen: Moritz Bleibtreu.
You might already know Bleibtreu if you’ve ever seen English language films like The Fifth Estate, World War Z, or Speed Racer. But he’s also been in a long, long list of fantastic German language films. Some of the highlights include Run Lola Run, The Baader Meinhof Complex and Das Experiment. Bleibtreu is one of those actors where I’ll watch pretty much any film he’s in: he’s that good and his films usually are, too.
Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)
Run Lola Run is one of those classic films that not only turned the film world on to Germany, but also changed things in the process. In the film, Lola (Franka Potente) has twenty minutes to get 100,000DM for her boyfriend (Bleibtreu), who has lost the money he owes his drug dealer boss, or else he’ll be killed. What makes the film noteworthy is the way it’s told. Run Lola Run is sharp, quick and fresh. It’s a thriller with a twist and a must-see.
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Der Baader Meinhof Komplex)
During the late 1960s and 1970s, a leftist militant group called the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorized Germany. Journalist Stefan Aust wrote a book on the group, documenting their history and exploits. The book serves as a basis for the 2008 film from director Uli Edel. The film is full of German stars: Bleibtreu and Martina Gedeck portray RAF group leaders Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, respectively, while Johanna Wokalek is group founder and Baader’s partner Gudrun Ensslin. The cast also includes Stipe Erceg as Holger Meins and Tom Schilling as Josef Bachmann, both RAF members. While not completely historically accurate (it is a film, after all), it’s still a fascinating look at an important time in Germany’s post-WWII history when revolution was a hot topic.
The Stanford prison experiment took place in 1971. In the experiment, normal students, who had volunteered, were divided into two groups: prisoners and guards. The idea was to observe the psychological influence of power and torture. What happened was unexpected and horrifying. Das Experiment is based on that failed study. It’s a dark thriller that you can’t turn away from: especially when you know it’s based on fact.