10 March 2017

Nina Hoss

German stage and film actress Nina Hoss (1975) often plays tragic, tormented heroines with somber attitude. She is a Nordic beauty, with a deep, sensual voice. Her close collaboration with director Christian Petzold has been extremely successful.

Nina Hoss
German autograph card. Photo: Ulrike Schamoni.

Nina Hoss
German autograph card. Photo: Christian Schoppe.

Nina Hoss
German autograph card. Photo: Mathias Bothor.

Controversial themes

Nina Hoss was born in Stuttgart, West Germany in 1975. Her father, Willi Hoss, was a German trade unionist and politician (member of the Bundestag in The Greens). Her mother, Heidemarie Rohweder, was an actress at Stuttgart National Theatre and later director of the Esslingen-based Württemberg State Playhouse (Württembergische Landesbühne Esslingen).

Hoss acted in radio plays at the age of seven and appeared on stage for the first time at the age of 14. In 1997 she graduated from the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin.

Her first major success in the cinema was the title role Rosemarie Nitribitt in the period drama Das Mädchen Rosemarie/A Girl Called Rosemary (Bernd Eichinger, 1996) with Heiner Lauterbach and Mathieu Carrière. Based on an actual scandal in the 1950s the film looks back at the days of West Germany's postwar Wirtschaftswunder with a curdling cynicism. It was a remake of Das Mädchen Rosemarie/Rosemary (Rolf Thiele, 1958) with Nadja Tiller in the title role.

In 2000 she was one of the Shooting Stars at the Berlinale. Her close collaboration with director Christian Petzold has been extremely successful: she won the 2003 Adolf Grimme Award for her role in his film Something to Remind Me and two years later the Adolf Grimme Award in Gold for Wolfsburg (Christian Petzold, 2003) with Benno Fürmann.

In Die weiße Massai/The White Masai (Hermine Huntgeburth, 2005) she played a woman falling in love in Kenya with Maasai Lemalian (Jacky Ido). The themes of the film were controversial. Ultimately, the film is about the clash of cultures and worldviews.

She appeared next with Moritz Bleibtreu and Franka Potente in Elementarteilchen/The Elementary Particles (Oskar Roehler, 2006), based on the controversial novel Les Particules élémentaires by Michel Houellebecq.

Then she worked again with Christian Petzold at the dramatic thriller Yella (2007), an unofficial remake of the American cult horror film Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962). Her performance of Yella, earned her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007 and the German Film Award in 2008.

Hoss and Petzold then made the drama Jerichow (Christian Petzold, 2008), loosely inspired by the American novel The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain. Anonyma - Eine Frau in Berlin/A Woman in Berlin (Max Färberböck, 2008), based on the memoir, Eine Frau in Berlin, published anonymously in 1959. The film premiered at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival and was praised for its portrayal of the waning days of World War II, a morally complex and brutal period.

Nina Hoss in Das Mädchen Rosemarie (1996)
German promotion card by Taurus Video. Photo: publicity still for Das Mädchen Rosemarie/A Girl Called Rosemary (Bernd Eichinger, 1996).

Nina Hoss
German autograph card.

Nina Hoss
German autograph card. Photo: Franziska Sinn.

A lesbian vampire

Nina Hoss played a lesbian vampire in the German horror film Wir sind die Nacht/We Are the Night (Dennis Gansel, 2010), co-starring Karoline Herfurth. Hoss played a doctor exiled to an East German provincial backwater in 1980 in Barbara (2012), another collaboration with Christian Petzold.

Nathan Southern at AllMovie: “The themes of this story are not particularly profound, but execution is everything. Thanks to expert scripting and direction, and an elegant central performance by Hoss, the shifts that we witness in Barbara Wolff are so delicate and subtle that they fly under our radar -- we feel that we're watching the credible growth of an actual person, not a character.”

Nina Hoss has been a member of the Juries of the Locarno International Film Festival in 2009, and the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011. She was an ensemble member at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin from 1998 to 2013, where she appeared as Medea and as Franziska in Minna von Barnhelm (2005). In 2012, she was appointed sole judge of the 2012 Alfred Kerr Acting Prize at the Berliner Theatertreffen. In 2013, she joined the ensemble of the Schaubühne theatre in Berlin.

She recorded a duet with the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers called Europa geht durch mich (Europe goes through me) for the 2014 album Futurology, produced by her partner Alex Silva. Hoss supports the Make Poverty History campaign and fights female genital mutilation. In continuation of the work of her father she is committed as a Goodwill Ambassador of the State of Pará in Brazil against the destruction of the rain forest and to improve the living conditions of the indigenous people living there.

On television she played in nine episodes of the popular series Homeland (2014-2015). Her recent films include the espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn, 2014), based on the novel by John le Carré and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the drama Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014), as a disfigured Holocaust survivor who sets out to determine if the man she loved betrayed her trust.

This year, Nina Hoss stars in the upcoming Rückkehr nach Montauk/Return to Montauk (Volker Schlöndorff, 2017) which has been selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.

Trailer Barbara (2012). Source: Piffl Medien (YouTube).

Trailer Phoenix (2014). Source: Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Film (YouTube).

Manic Street Preachers & Nina Hoss perform Europa Geht Durch Mich at Later... with Jools Holland. Source: BBC (YouTube).

Sources: Nathan Southern (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.


Bunched Undies said...

Thanks for the wonderful post and video clips. Nina is one of my favorite actresses working today.

Paul van Yperen said...

Thanks, David. I'm am a fan of her too.