Biography partially from Baseline's Encyclopedia of Film
Born: December 25, 1943, Königshütte, Germany (now Poland)
Schygulla was born in Königshütte, Upper Silesia, to
German parents Antonie (née Mzyk) and Joseph Schygulla. Her father was an
infantryman in the German Army and was captured by American forces in Italy,
subsequently being held as a prisoner of war until 1948. In the 1960s, Schygulla
studied Romance languages and German studies, while taking acting lessons in
Munich during her spare time.
Acting eventually became her focus. Schygulla's career was sparked by
Fassbinder, whom she met while taking an acting class in Munich and with whom she
worked at the Munich Action Theater. A luminous, enigmatic beauty in the classic Teutonic
mold, Schygulla provided the dramatic cornerstone of many of
Fassbinder's finest films, appearing in nearly 20 features directed by him between
is Colder Than Death) and 1981 (Lili Marleen). She has also worked with Volker
of Deceit, 1981), Jean-Luc Godard (Passion, 1982) and Andrzej Wajda
(A Love in Germany, 1984).
During the making of
(1974), an adaptation of a classic German novel, Fassbinder and Schygulla fell
out over divergent interpretations of the character. Also a problem for
Schygulla was low pay, and she led a revolt against Fassbinder on this issue
during the making of Effi Briest. Fassbinder's response was typically
blunt: "I can't stand the sight of your face any more. You bust my balls". After
this, they did not work together for several years until
Marriage of Maria Braun in 1978.
Schygulla has acted in French, Italian, and American films. In the 1990s she
also became known and well-regarded as a chanson singer. In Juliane
Lorenz's documentary film Life, Love and Celluloid (1998), on Fassbinder
and related topics, Schygulla performs several songs.
In 2002, she appeared in VB51, a performance by the artist Vanessa Beecroft. In
2007, she appeared in the film The Edge of Heaven, directed by Fatih Akın, to
Hanna Schygulla has lived in Paris since 1981.
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