One of my favorite interviews of last year was Julia Jentsch, a young German actress on the rise, who was at the time starring as Nazi-resistance hero Sophie Scholl in the under-appreciated film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. Anyone who has seen the film is hard-pressed to forget it -- it follows the young freedom fighter as a minor screw-up in her daily routine lands her in the hands of the local police. If they find out who she really is, she'll be executed as fast as she can be dragged to the gallows. There really was no better suspense film released last year, and I highly recommend it to anyone. However, after the film absurdly lost the Best Foreign Language Oscar, I wondered if Jentsch would fade back into the obscurity of German stage work, which she was doing when I interviewed her, but now comes news that she's snagged the lead in a major helming of the German literary classic Effi Briest, which many consider one of the finest novels ever written.
The story, by Theodor Fontane, is about a young woman who is living a miserable existence in an arranged marriage to a man somewhat above her station in life and eventually takes on a lover who is equally unsuitable for her. Juliane Koehler, who was memorable as Eva Braun in 2004's Hitler saga Downfall, will play Effi's mother and Sebastian Koch, who starred in Verhoeven's incredible Dutch epic Black Book, will be playing one of the film's male leads. So in other words, the leading lights of German cinema are on this thing. The film is being directed by Hermine Huntgeburth, who I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about, but hopefully I'll learn more after this film sees the light of day. The pic is ramping up for a Berlin start date on September 3rd, exactly. Very precise -- that's Germans for you.