Berlinale-Blogger 2017
BerlinalePeople: Alex Brendemühl, actor

Alex Brendemühl with fellow actor Ulrich Brandhoff on the set of DJANGO
Alex Brendemühl (left) with fellow actor Ulrich Brandhoff on the set of „Django“ | © Alex Brendemühl

Part of an ongoing series of mini profiles on the blog “German Film @ Canada” on the movers and shakers that make the Berlinale one of the most important events in the international film calendar: the filmmakers, actors, curators, industry promoters and visitors.

Name & role: Alex Brendemühl, actor, known for Wakolda (2013), Hedi Schneider is Stuck (2015). Brendemühl opens the 67th Berlinale Competition in Django.

What it means to me as a European actor to open the Berlin Film Festival: The Berlinale is, with Cannes and Venice, the most important film festival in Europe, perhaps in the world. Every artist dreams about having a film in the Berlinale one day. In my case, with family there, makes it even more amazing. It's a big honour.

What made working on “Django” with Comar and Kateb special:
Django is a film about the power of music, the power of swing. The World War II setting makes it especially intriguing. Comar approached the delicate subject matter and his work with us actors with a lot of sensitivity and freedom. I really appreciate it when a director lets you be part of the process, lets you in on the decision-making. Reda Kateb as well as Cecile de France are so incredibly talented and were so right for those roles, it was a pure pleasure to work with them.

The biggest difference about working in German productions vs. other European films: Wherever in the world I shoot, I feel that filmmakers have their own distinct philosophy and lifestyle. We are nomads, pitching our tents elsewhere each day. But on each set I find similar types, which creates a sense of home. Apart from small cultural differences – it's not much different to shoot in Germany or elsewhere.

If I have time for anything else in Berlin, I’d like to: Visit Schleusenkrug. It's a popular biergarten, right in the middle of Tiergarten, with delicious German comfort food (and drink) any time of year. Especially in the winter, in the snow!

German director I’d love to work with (and why): Christian Petzold. His films inspire me so much, and I am lucky to have a small part in his next film.

Where to after Berlinale? In February I will be with Cédric Kahn in a French film. And in April I am working with Jaime Rosales, a director I worked with over 10 years ago for Las horas del dia, for which we won the Critics Award in the Quinzaine des réalisateurs in Cannes.

interview by @JuttaBrendemuhl, currently working out with Alex how exactly they are related.


Alex Brendemühl

stars in the French biopic Django by Etienne Comar that opens the Berlinale 2017 in Competition. Django Reinhardt was one of the most brilliant pioneers of European jazz and the father of Gypsy Swing. The film grippingly portrays one chapter in the musician’s eventful life and is a poignant tale of survival.

Brendemühl is a film and stage actor born in Barcelona to a German father and a Catalan mother. He studied at the Institut del Teatre of Barcelona and works in his native Catalan, Spanish and German as well as being fluent French and English. His first leading role in a feature film was in Un banco en el parque (1998). Las horas del dia (2002), which received the Fipresci Prize in Cannes, was a turning point in his career, leading him to major roles in films such as En la ciudad (2002), Inconscientes (2004) and Remake (2005).

He is also the co-writer of the film Yo (2007), winner of the Revelation of the Year Award in the 46th Semaine de la critique in Cannes. For his role in Yo, as well as his work in 53 días de invierno and El silencio antes the Bach, he obtained the Best Actor Award (Premio Sant Jordi). The success of Yo took him to direct his first shortfilm Worstward Ho, which was in the Official Selection of the 62th Cannes Film Festival.

Recently, he has played Josef Mengele in Wakolda – The German Doctor. In France he has played a leading role in Le Sanctuaire and Parisiennes. In Germany, he has two films to be released, Von Zeit zu Zeit (Johannes Slevert) and Wann endlich küsst du mich (Julia Ziesche). Last year, he starred in Mal de pierres, directed by Nicole Garcia, alongside Marion Cotillard and Louis Garrel.