German director Uli Edel has had success on both sides of the Atlantic. His English language projects have included films like Last Exit to Brooklyn with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Body of Evidence with Madonna as well as television miniseries like The Mists of Avalon. In German, his projects look similar: made for both the large and small screens. He was behind ZDF’s 2013 miniseries Das Adlon. Eine Familiensaga about the history of Berlin’s famous Hotel Adlon.
For this month’s German language film recommendations, the focus is on three of Uli Edel’s German films: Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, Der Baader Meinhof Komplex and Zeiten ändern dich. All three films are big screen adaptions of books. Coincidence?
Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo
In 1979, journalists Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck published Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. The book documented the lives of drug-addicted teenagers living in Berlin. The focus of the investigation is Christiane F., who was interviewed by journalists over three years when she was 12 to 15 years old. The book was a success and in 1981 Uli Edel turned the book into a feature film. Dark and moody, Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo has a solid cult following. It stars Natja Brunckhorst in the title role and features performances from David Bowie. The musician also served as composer for the film’s accompanying soundtrack.
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Der Baader Meinhof Komplex)
In the late 60s and 70s, a leftist militant group called the Red Army Faction terrorized Germany. It was only in the late 90s that the group finally ended. The film is based on a book by journalist Stefan Aust documenting the group’s history and exploits. Moritz Bleibtreu stars as group leader Andreas Baader while Martina Gedeck is Ulrike Meinhof, while Johanna Wokalek is co-founder Gudrun Ensslin. While not 100% 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.
Zeiten ändern dich
German gangster rapper Bushido is known for controversy in his music and in his everyday life. So it should come as no surprise that when he published his autobiography in 2008 there was a similar response. Edel directed the movie version of Bushido’s story, Zeiten ändern dich. Starring as the German-Tunisian rapper? Bushido himself. The story focuses on his rise to success. From his struggle to fit in in Germany, where he was born to selling drugs on the streets of Berlin. Eventually, he gets his big break. Big German movie stars like Moritz Bleibtreu and Elyas M’Barek also star in the film.
Practice practice practice! Discover other great German language actors and actresses previously featured.
Top photo © ZDF / Stephanie Kulbach. Der Baader Meinhof Komplex photo © 2008 Constantin Film Verleih GmbH.