Martina Gedeck is an acclaimed actress who is well respected and has dozens of awards to her name. Gedeck’s trademark is not being pigeonholed: she’s appeared in comedies, dramas, and everywhere in between. And she is known for major roles in German films including The Lives of Others and The Baader Meinhof Complex. If you are not already familiar with Martina Gedeck, now is most definitely the time to become familiar with this talented actress.
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).
Get to Know Martina Gedeck
Martina Gedeck was born on September 14, 1961, in Munich, Germany. She grew up northeast of the city in Landshut as the eldest of three girls. Gedeck has said that, while growing up, the family did not have a television and it was only when she was at her grandmother’s home that she was occasionally able to watch shows made for children.
As a pre-teen, the family moved to West Berlin. Later, she studied in New Jersey for a year as an exchange student. It was during her time in the United States that she took an acting course. When she returned to Germany, she studied acting and theater in Berlin.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Gedeck has more than a hundred film and television credits to her name. These days you can see her as part of the cast of Netflix’s Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood.
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 interpersonal 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 storyline 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.
Top photo by Karel Kühne courtesy of Impresariat Simmenauer. This post contains affiliate links.