Birthday: Film icon Hanna Schygulla turns 80 - “Something new more often”

She has just filmed on the North Sea, on a Wadden island.

Birthday: Film icon Hanna Schygulla turns 80 - “Something new more often”

She has just filmed on the North Sea, on a Wadden island. She already has a new request for a film on the table - and whenever there is a break, she pushes forward with her own projects: the translation of her biography into French, a short film about refugees. Hanna Schygulla, who became known many years ago as the discovery of Fassbinder, is celebrating her 80th birthday on December 25th. She doesn't seem to get tired.

"I'm impressed myself," she says. "Even if I slow down sometimes. But that also has its good side." There are already health crises, but: “I always came out of it okay,” Schygulla told the German Press Agency before her birthday. When asked about her motto, she says: "Long live the joy of life - and often something new. And very important: humor."

She's trying something new on her birthday. She never used to celebrate big, but for her 80th she wanted to do it "really" for the first time: friends from Paris and Brussels, among others, are traveling to Berlin.

Congratulations come from Munich, among others. Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) praised her “great film career”. "You continue to shape the European film scene to this day. It is impressive how unbroken your creativity and presence is."

How did she get into acting?

The path to acting wasn't necessarily predetermined for Schygulla. She studied Romance and German and wanted to write her thesis about Karl Valentin, whom she admires.

It was Rainer Werner Fassbinder who first brought her to the theater in the 1960s. With him she shaped the auteur film, and with his films - such as "Effi Briest", "The Marriage of Maria Braun" and "Lili Marleen" - she became famous . "He was certainly the decisive person for my CV - because without him I wouldn't have become an actress. I had already left drama school. That's when he remembered me," she says.

Hanna Schygulla later worked with European directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlos Saura and Marco Ferreri. Her collaboration with Ferreri earned her the Actor Prize at Cannes in 1983. Between dream and reality - wide awake and present: that was the Schygulla effect. She captivated people with this. For Hollywood she played Catherine the Great in the television series "Peter the Great".

Care of parents

Schygulla put some of her career aside to care for her parents. “They were neglected in life in the time before, during and after the catastrophe of the world wars,” she once said. “I wanted to compensate for that as best I could at the end.”

From the 1990s onwards, the award-winning actress also appeared as a chanson singer and increasingly appeared behind the camera herself. For example, she made short films called “Dream Protocols” that were shown in New York and Berlin.

She lived in Paris for many decades - to this day the center of her life next to Berlin. "At some point it will shrink down to a residence. But as long as it lasts, I still find it stimulating," she says. Berlin is not as beautiful as Paris, which was largely undestroyed during the war, but it is colorful.

From Upper Silesia to Munich

Hanna Schygulla moved between two cultures early on when she came to Munich from Upper Silesia with her mother as a refugee child in 1945. She was shaped by her escape, her childhood in Bavaria and her relationship with her father after his return from captivity. At that time she oscillated between the boy her father would have liked to have, the beautiful princess, the refugee child and the Munich child, the stubborn and the daydreamer.

To this day she is connected to those who come as refugees - and who, like her, migrate between cultures. She instructed Kurdish girls in Berlin to make short films. She recently came into contact with young Ukrainian filmmakers as a member of an online jury. "They knew me and were happy about my participation. I was amazed to see how important films continue to be made despite life-threatening situations."

In late autumn, Schygulla filmed the second part of his trilogy about being foreign on the North Sea with the young director Ameer Fakher Eldin - born in Ukraine, raised on the Golan Heights, living in Hamburg. She plays the landlady of a Wadden island that is repeatedly washed over by the sea. In January, her short films about “being human in exceptional times” will be shown at the Film Museum in Munich.

"Every age has its beauty"

Concealing your age, coloring your hair - not an issue for Schygulla. "Maybe I'm one of the few actresses who looks the way they did. The beauty craze is so far removed from that. Every age has its beauty."

Schygulla is currently working on the translation of her autobiography “Wake Up and Dream,” which will also be published in French after ten years. This is also why she is currently looking back intensively on her life: "I'm impressed by how rich it was."