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!
Get to Know Daniel Brühl
Daniel Brühl was born on June 16, 1978, in Barcelona, Spain. His father is a German television director and his mother is a Spanish teacher. As a child, the family moved to Cologne, Germany. There, he grew up and attended school.
Brühl’s start in acting came early. Still a teenager, he had roles in several television series and television movies. 1999’s Schlaraffenland was his first role in a feature film. But it was his performance in 2003’s Good Bye, Lenin! that was a real breakthrough for Brühl.
Today, the actor is married with two children. But his interests don’t only lie in performing art. Since 2011, he has been an owner of Bar Raval, a tapas bar in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood.
Good Bye, Lenin!
As a young man in East Germany, Alex Kerner (portrayed by Brühl) is trying to get his life together. It isn’t easy, not least because his mother is a strong and active supporter of the government. But he isn’t.
When Alex’s mother falls into a coma after a near-fatal heart attack, the Berlin Wall comes down and Germany is reunited. When she awakes, doctors tell Alex and his sister that any shock to their mother could be fatal.
Fearful that news of the DDR’s demise could be the end for his mother, Alex concocts a plan to keep the news from her. He rigs up a television set to show old programming and has a friend “broadcast” newscasts, he searches for food brands that now no longer exist, and he forces the family to dress in the old styles.
But the plan becomes a heavy burden for everyone involved. Meanwhile, Alex’s personal life is changing.
Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (Das Edukators)
They aren’t there to steal anything. Instead, they simply want to shake up the lives of the rich and indulgent. The pair hope their interventions will cause families to reflect on their fortune.
Peter’s girlfriend, Jule (Julia Jentsch), convinces them to break into the home of a wealthy businessman. But this is not a random choice. It just so happens that she got into a car accident with the man and now is in debt in order to pay restitution.
The plan goes bad though when the businessman comes home during the break-in. With no other option, the trio abducts the man. They head into the mountains to lay low and figure out what to do.
The film explores the culture of capitalism in everyday life while Jan and Jule get closer.
Der ganz große Traum (Lessons of a Dream)
Today, the German national soccer team is one of the best in the world. But it wasn’t that long ago that the game of soccer (or football, if you prefer) was invented.
In Der ganz große Traum, Daniel Brühl portrays Konrad Koch, a teacher hired to a school in Braunschweig. What he brings with him is his love for a new sport: soccer. But Koch’s attempts to teach the game to his pupils don’t sit well with the conservative institution or the local community.
The film is, of course, a fictionalized account of history. However, it is nevertheless extremely interesting to get a look at how the world’s most popular sport got its start in Germany.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German-language actors and actresses previously featured.
Top photo from the actor’s official website. This post contains affiliate links.