As I was going through my notes and looking through previous German film posts, I realized something important. Up to this point, I haven’t featured any woman yet. Let’s fix that right now! This month I’m featuring German films that star Martina Gedeck. If you’ve seen any of the films I’ve featured previously, then you’ll likely be familiar with some of her co-stars. From Moritz Bleibtreu (they’ve been in a number of films together) to Ulrich Tukur (they have The Lives of Others in common), Gedeck has shared the screen with some big names.
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).
Jew Süss: Rise and Fall (Jud Süss – Film ohne Gewissen)
This film was highly controversial in Germany. In fact, it was booed in theaters. It recounts the making of an infamous Nazi propaganda film, Jew Süss, an obviously uncomfortable subject. The film’s star, Ferdinand Marian, was living a bit of a double-life. He had close family connections with Jewish Germans yet was starring in such a hateful film and his acting skills were applauded. Reviews have been critical of the film’s historical inaccuracies and stereotypes. The film is the work of director Oskar Roehler. Tobias Moretti stars in the film as Marian. Moritz Bleibtreu also stars as Joseph Goebbels alongside Gedeck, who portrays the wife of Moretti’s Marian.
The Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen)
With Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Ulmen, Martina Gedeck, Franka Potente, and Nina Hoss it is an all-star cast in The Elementary Particles. The film is based on Michel Houellebecq’s book Les Particules élémentaires and is also directed by Oskar Roehler. The film focuses on two half-brothers that couldn’t be more different. One is a nerdy, socially awkward molecular biologist (Ulmen) and the other has a sex addiction (Bleibtreu). Life changes for both brothers when they connect with special women (Potente and Gedeck). It’s a heavy, graphic film.
Mostly Martha (Bella Martha)
Don’t let that Italian title fool you: Bella Martha is all German. Martha (portrayed by Gedeck) is a single woman who adopts her niece after her sister dies suddenly. But she focuses on her work as a chef and has little experience with children — or any inter-personal skills, for that matter. When her boss brings in an Italian chef to work with her, the two instantly butt heads. Martha’s left to try and juggle her new life with her niece and trying to maintain her career. If the story line sounds familiar, you may have already seen the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in an English language remake, No Reservations.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German language actors and actresses previously featured.