In this article I’ll try to give you a little overview of some of my favourite German actresses. I must admit that choosing the ones to include in the list wasn’t a simple task for me, therefore this is not intended as an exhaustive ranking.
10. Josephine Preuß
She’s a young German actress most famous for her leading role in the German TV-series Türkisch für Anfänger as Lena Schneider. She’s also starred in fantasy films Saphirblau (2014) and Rubinrot (2013), which are based on Kriesten Gier’s book trilogy Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten. I think she’s very talented and I personally enjoy watching her performances; my favourite of which was her role in Das Adlon. Eine Familiensaga (2013) as Sonja Schadt. I liked the casting and the story that is based on true historical events following the lives of the members of the Adlon family until the present day. Josephine Preuß played her role beautifully and kept me glued to the screen with her performance. I certainly believe she’ll gain more success and will probably have a prolific acting career.
9. Jasmine Schwiers
Jasmin Schwiers is a Belgian born actress best known for her role in Schule (2000) – alongside Daniel Brühl – and NVA (2005). Unfortunately, her career hasn’t taken off yet, but I’m confident she will be successful in the future. I loved her role as Annika Behringer in the German comedy film Machen wir’s auf Finnisch (2008) alongside Volker Bruch and also her role in NVA. She received the Günter-Strack-Fernsehpreis (2000) for newcomer and a Goldene Kamera award in the same category in 2005. I hope to be watching her in a new project very soon!
8. Henriette Confurios
Henriette Confurios is a another young talented German actress whose career has blossomed in the past year and a half. I personally had never heard of her until last year’s film release Die geliebten Schwestern – Beloved Sisters – (2014) in which she starred with a well-know and capable cast of the likes of Florian Stetter and Hannah Herzsprung. Henriette also starred in the TV-Drama Tannbach – Schicksal eines Dorfes (2015) in which she played a young woman struggling with her everyday life right after WW2. I found her performance to be very good and the series very interesting as well. She shared the leading role with the new Deutschland 83 rising star Jonas Nay and with Ludwig Trepte, also starring in Deutschland 83 (2015), and in the famous German TV-series Unsere Mütter Unsere Väter (2013). I’m looking forward to her next roles as she seems to be a promising young actress.
7. Katja Hannchen Leni Riemann
She’s a famous German actress whose best role was probably in Margarethe Von Trotta’s film Rosenstraße (2003). The film won several awards: the Bayerischer Filmpreis for best cinematography and a David at the David di Donatello Awards for best European Film both in 2004, and most importantly the Coppa Volpi for Katja Riemann for best actress in 2003. I must say that the film was a masterpiece, therefore I didn’t expect any less from the cast. In fact, Katja Riemann’s performance was outstanding and her prize earned. She has also starred in many TV films in Germany, and has had a very long career. I admire her work and I think she’s a talented and great actress.
6. Saskia Rosendahl
Saskia Rosendahl’s breaking role was in Lore a German WW2 drama in which Saskia plays the young Lore who finds herself running for her life along with her little brother. It was while watching this film that I came across her incredible talent. The plot is a bit complicated so I won’t start explaining it here, but it was undoubtedly a well-made film by the Australian director Cate Sortland, with the musical score being provided by Max Richter – a composer whom I personally admire and whose music is always emotional. Saskia gave a wonderful performance and she won the Shooting Stars Award at the Berlin Film Festival, the AACTA Award for Best Young Actor and also the Best Actress award at the 23rd Stockholm International Film Festival. If all of this alone isn’t enough for you to watch her films and keep an eye on her then you must know that she’s also starring in the film Wir Sind Jung. Wir Sind Stark, one of the must-see German films of 2015.
5. Julia Jentsch
Julia Jentsch is perhaps one of the most promising German actresses right now. She has talent, personality and the capacity to dive into different and compelling roles; her career shows that quite clearly. I first started to follow her career after watching the beautiful film Sophie Scholl (2005) which is about the still too-little-unexplored German Resistance, which was actually very present in the country. She won a Best Actress Award at the European Film Awards and the German Film Awards, and also a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Her resemblance with the real Sophie was uncanny and her performance was brilliant – I wasn’t surprised when she won those awards. She also starred in the comedy Kokowääh 2 (2013) thus proving her versatile skills as an actress.
4. Felicitas Woll
Felicitas Woll is a German actress best known for her role in the WW2 drama ARD series film Dresden (2006) for which she won a Bayerischer Fernsehpreis award. Since then her acting career has taken off brilliantly. She has co-starred with Ken Duken in the TV film Carl & Bertha (2011), one of my personal favourites, she’s also starred in other period TV series and in the famous comedy TV series Berlin, Berlin for which she won many awards. She’s very talented and all of her roles have touched me, especially the one in Dresden which is my second favourite after her role as Bertha.
3. Katharina Schüttler
Katharina Schüttler is a German actress who has starred in numerous German films. She was also part of the cast in the four part British TV drama The promise. She has been a surprise for me, as I have to admit I didn’t know her until her magnificent performance as Greta Müller in the worldwide known German TV series Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter – Generation War – (2013). She also starred in the WW2 film Elser-Er hätte die Welt verändert which is about the famous Georg Elser who attempted to assassinate Hitler in 1939. She has also starred in comedy films such as: Alles ist Liebe (2014), What a man (2011) and Vaterfreuden (2014). I think her career will continue in the best way and I’m looking forward to seeing her next roles.
2. Romy Schneider
Unfortunately Romy Schneider is no longer with us, but I felt obliged to commemorate her somehow because I admire her not only for her acting career but also as a woman. She was known worldwide as Sissi in the trilogy Sissi (1955), Sissi – die junge Kaiserin (1956) or Sissi – the young empress, and Sissi – Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin (1957) or Sissi – Fateful years of an Empress. She also had a prolific career in France after moving to the country in the 60s, starring in many films directed by the most famous French directors of that age. One of importance was Christine (1958) by Pierre Gaspard-Huit, but she also starred in Italian films such as Boccaccio 70’ (1961) or Ludwig (1972) by Luchino Visconti. Her performances were always stunning and I can’t think of a single film that I haven’t enjoyed. Maybe it’s the historical period in which she acted but I’m quite sure it’s mostly for her beauty and talent. She’s a sorely missed actress.
1. Miriam Stein
Miriam Stein is an Austrian-Swiss actress, not a German actress, but since she’s acting mostly in Germany and she’s a remarkable performer I’m going to include her in my Top Ten list. Her best known role is the sweet and naïve nurse Charlotte Weiss in the amazing TV- drama Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter (2013) known to the international audience as Generation War. I adored the series and I think it gave an insight into the reality of war for the German people and how violence was committed by anyone from each side. Miriam Stein offered a great, overwhelming and captivating performance. She kept me glued to the screen and she became my favourite German actress immediately. I had already seen her acting skills in the film Young Goethe in Love (2010), or Goethe! in German, but her role in Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter is the one that finally proved how talented she is. I’m waiting for more films to come and I can’t wait to watch her next amazing performance.
I'm particularly passionate about British and German cinema, and I'm a sucker for a good old war film.