MUNICH — At a mere 28 years old, Germany’s new indie queen Julia Jentsch is already a seasoned veteran of the festival and kudos circuit.
In 2004 she walked down the red carpet in Cannes for Hans Weingartner’s “The Edukators,” in which she played the female lead. Less than a year later she won the Silver Bear in Berlin for her portrayal of the famous young resistance fighter in Marc Rothemund’s “Sophie Scholl — The Final Days.”
The film was well received on her home turf and even captured the attention of American critics who gave the film a mixed reception but generally had praise for Jentsch’s interpretation of the tragic German heroine. “Julia Jentsch’s strong and graceful, quiet knockout of a performance is the film’s most potent weapon,” wrote Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, and Variety’s Derek Elley spotlighted her “ace performance” for giving the movie “a focused dramatic power.”
“Sophie Scholl” nabbed a foreign-language Oscar nomination and though the pic didn’t win, Jentsch was awarded best actress gong at the European and the German Film Awards.
Within a year Jentsch had turned into a household name in Germany.
“In the beginning, (I) found the sudden media interest quite difficult to handle,” says Jentsch. “It got so much I felt it was taking me away from work. But I realized that it’s necessary for the film. So the way I handle it now is that I made a decision for myself to promote the film (I’m in) rather than me as a person.”
Although known primarily for her bigscreen work, Jentsch is not averse to tackling theater, and recently received excellent reviews for her Desdemona in the Munich Kammerspiele production of “Othello.”
Most recently Jentsch could be seen in the Czech-language pic, “I Served the King of England,” which screened in competish at this year’s Berlin fest.
For “I Served the King of England” Jentsch learned Czech and she will learn Polish for her upcoming role in “33 Scenes,” helmed by Malgorzata Szumowska (“Ono”).
“I love working in different countries and with people from different cultures,” she says. “It adds a whole layer to your experience.”
Jentsch just finished production on the Teuton version of the Richard Curtis-penned “The Girl in the Cafe.”
Later this year, however, she will play the eponymous Effie Briest, one of Germany’s most famous literary characters, in Hermine Huntgeburth’s adaptation of Theodor Fontane’s novel.
Claim to fame: “The Edukators,” “Sophie Scholl — The Final Days”
Career mantra: “Everything in life is sweetened by risk.”
Role model: David Bowie
What’s next: “Effie Briest,” helmed by Hermine Huntgeburth (“The White Massai”), produced by Gunther Rohrbach (“Das Boot”)