Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Hanna Schygulla

The first of my German heroines here. Fassbinder is of course, a genius, and I couldn't imagine any other actress being cast in these films - and making them come alive in the way she did

Hanna Schygulla met Rainer Werner Fassbinder while taking an acting class in Munich, and began working with him at the Munich Action Theatre.

Fassbinder casted her in The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) - as an insolent working-class girl, confident in her ability to break hearts of either sex - using her looks to get ahead while refusing to surrender her independence.

But it was her role in The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978) which finally brought Fassbinder the acceptance he sought -confirming Schygulla as his ideal actress.

She's in other Fassbinder films too, and she's in Wenders' Falsche Bewegung (Wrong Movement) but it's her role in The Marriage of Maria
Braun which resonates (first picture above). She was perfectly, ever-so-slightly wooden and fitted Fassbinder's haughty, vaguely grotesque role amazingly well. She is so synonymous with Fassbinder for me, it's as if they were meant to meet.

Despite Fassbinder's amazing talent, these films would have been a lot poorer without her, and no doubt her strong character was an asset. He was a spoiled, tempestuous drama queen to work for, by all accounts.

Hanna Schygulla (born 25 December 1943)