If German actress Sibel Kekilli looks familiar, you might have just outed yourself as an astute Game of Thrones viewer. On the wildly popular American television show, Kekilli spent three years as the mistress to Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister. But before she was a regular in this violent, dragon-filled world she was making movies in her native Germany. Kekilli has performed in comedies with stars like Matthias Schweighöfer as well as serious dramas covering topics such as Turkish-German relations and the Holocaust.
Gegen die Wand (Head-On)
Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a stand-offish, suicidal man with anger and drug problems. Sibel (Kekilli) manipulates Cahit into marrying her so that she can escape her conservative Turkish-German family. Needless to say, he isn’t very happy about it. She struggles to make their situation work while exploring her new freedom as a young woman in Hamburg, indulging in nightlife and short skirts. The film, written and directed by Fatih Akin, follows their struggles to connect.
In 2010’s Die Fremde — titled When We Leave in English — Kekilli portrays Umay, a young housewife in Istanbul. Abused and unhappy in her marriage, she decides to run away with her son and return to her family in Berlin. Unfortunately for Umay, her deeply conservative Muslim family turn their back on her. Umay struggles to find a way to survive and protect her son as she befriends a German coworker (portrayed by Florian Lukas).
Der letzte Zug
2006’s The Last Train (Der letzte Zug) follows the fate of some of the last remaining Jews in Berlin. They are rounded up and sent in cattle cars on a train to Auschwitz concentration camp. Kekilli portrays Ruth Zilbermann. The film is noteworthy for its effort to realistically portray history.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German language actors and actresses previously featured.
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