best film: There are two potential answers here. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) from Bela Tarr is the answer in the strictest sense. Hanna Schygulla plays Tünde Eszter and she is fantastic in her limited screen time opposite Lars Rudolph. If one was to consider only the films where Schygulla contributes a larger amount to the greater result of the film, it would be 1979’s The Marriage of Maria Braun here as the answer. This is the first film in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s BRD trilogy, which is really the great German auteur’s most artistically fertile stretch.
best performance: It is fitting that it is a Fassbinder film here: The Marriage of Maria Braun. This is the strongest of the four archiveable films between Fassbinder and his muse Schygulla.
stylistic innovations/traits: If Klaus Kinski is the male acting face of the New German Cinema of the 1970s and 1980s, then Hanna Schygulla is the female acting face of this rich movement in cinema history. Schygulla is known for being able to portray both viciousness and sympathy. She could pull off playing both Fassbinder’s sadistically cruel abuser (almost all of his films have at least one character playing this part) and the naïve victim- with equal skill and measure. She gives one of the best acting performances of the year in back-to-back years (1979 and 1980) making her one of the best female actors of her generation. It is hard to talk about Schygulla without talking about Fassbinder. If Fassbinder had not died so young, it seems plausible that Schygulla would be a top twenty (20) female actor of all-time.
directors worked with: R.W. Fassbinder (4), and then Andrzej Wajda (2), Jean-Luc Godard (1), Kenneth Branagh (1), and Bela Tarr (1)
top five performances:
- The Marriage of Maria Braun
- Berlin Alexanderplatz
- The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
- A Love in Germany
- The Merchant of Four Seasons
|1972- The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant|
|1972- The Merchant of Four Seasons|
|1979- The Marriage of Maria Braun|
|1980- Berlin Alexanderplatz|
|1981- Circle of Deceit|
|1983- A Love in Germany|
|1991- Dead Again|
|2000- Werckmeister Harmonies|
|2007- The Edge of Heaven|
I have 2 questions.
1. Can picture Schygulla as both Lola and Veronika Voss?
2. If you can and you add those two films in her filmography, where would she land? Would she be a top 20?
@M*A*S*H- I can certainly picture Schygulla as both Lola and VV. Yes- I think with four top performances of the year mentions, at least you’re in the top 20-25 range on this list, if not higher.
I love this new list… we are not even at 50 and theres quite a few actresses i am not entirely familiar with which is refreshing. Some of these actresses have really crazy filmographies
have you watched any of the highly rated 2022 movies yet drake? can’t wait to read your impressions of them.
@oliver- Good to hear from you. I think I’ve seen most of the highly rated 2022 films- the ones available at least. 24 2022 archiveable films and counting. Still lots of work to do between now year end.
@drake Thank you Drake, I’m very excited to see the result. I love your website.
@oliver- So nice of you to say that- thank you
I don’t know that you’ll reveal it but is Anne Dorval under your radar for this list?
I don’t know how many achievable films she’ll have but I’ve seen her in 4 Xavier Dolan films, I killed my mother, mommy , heartbeats and laurance anyways.
She’s insignificant in other two but WHAT A TWO PUNCH she has it’s stronger than Streep’s top two (Not to mention ciematically more important) :
2. I Killed My Mother
@M*A*S*H- Indeed. I noticed the same thing when putting together some of the numbers when originally setting out to update this (and hopefully improve) list
I’m going to watch A Love in Germany soon (very hard film to find) and from the plot it seems very similar to The Marriage of Maria Braun. Well, is it?
@M*A*S*H- Good for you – always feels good to track down a hard to find film. It has been ages here- so report back and share your thoughts if you would.
I stopped watching it. The available quality was very bad. I’ve seen no films of Andrzej Wadja. I wanna get to some films of his. But they’r terribly hard to find. Even harder to find them in good quality. His polish films are nearly impossible to find (Polish films are in general not easily found) , his French and German films are available but in poor quality.
By the way, we asked you “whether Schygulla will be able to pull off the performance in Possession Or not? “.
You didn’t get to it.
P. S. I’m a trouble maker but I love movies and whenever I’m not watching or reading about films, I’m creating these scenarios in my head. In my friend circle here, there’s no one to whom I can talk about movies intelligently. But thanks to your site I’ve found few people with whom I can discuss movies. I love commenting here as well.
@M*A*S*H- I feel the same way about the comments here and some very knowledgeable people (like yourself) that visit the site and comment. Thank you for your contributions. I think she would do an admirable job- she is the superior actor overall. But I hesitate because there’s just a level in the Adjani Possession performance – so unhinged and open- that I’m not even sure I’ve seen Schygulla go to.
You’re right Schygulla can be icy and reserved but the thing is, what else have you seen from Adjani that could prepare you for Possession.
I’m sure you’ve seen Schygulla portray even more complex characters but you’ve never seen her go as loud. Like if you’ve only seen The Godfather, you can’t anticipate weather Pacino is capable of Scarface. Am I wrong in my comparison?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wanna change the casting, I admire Adjani’s work in Possession beyond words. But I’m a Hanna Schygulla fanboy.
@M*A*S*H- That happens- you made the right choice by stopping. I may have mentioned this to you already but I was 10 minutes into an inferior copy of Ulysses’ Gaze and had to stop myself recently. It is frustrating to have to wait- but quality matters.
No I did not know that. Theo Angelopoulos is also hard to track down. I’ve never found a single film of his at any of the places I watch movies.
Sometimes I sooo wanna watch a film that i just go ahead anyway even in bad quality but yeah I stay kinda frustrated at the quality throughout the movie’s runtime. And of course quality changes everything.