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KINO favorites: 7 German movie stars you need to know

Scott Roxborough
March 24, 2017

For the latest in DW's series on the best in German cinema, we pick the seven wonderful German performers - four actresses, three actors - who look poised to take their place on the international stage.

Sandra Hüller as Ines and Peter Simonischek as Winfried in "Toni Erdmann"
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Komplizen Film/NFP/Komplizen Film/NFP marketing & distribution

Seven is a magic number in the movies. It can evoke evil - think of David Fincher's "Se7en" with its references to the seven deadly sins in the gruesome killings of that film's serial killer - or death itself, as in Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal."

But in cinema, seven has also been a metaphor for camaraderie (Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" or John Sturges' Western remake "The Magnificent Seven); temptation (Billy Wilder's "The Seven Year Itch" with Marilyn Monroe in a billowing skirt); or unbridled joy (the MGM musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" or, most famously, the singing, dancing seven dwarfs in Disney's "Snow White").

So with a nod to the gods of cinematic numerology, DW's has selected seven on-screen talents you need to know. Seven performers - four women, three men - who are ready to make the leap from German to international stardom. Our picks could be the next big thing(s) out of Germany.

Most are young: Four of our magnificent seven were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Liv Lisa Fries, Paula Beer, Jonas Nay and Louis Hofmann belong to the first generation of "reunified" Germany. 

We've also picked a veteran actor, Peter Kurth, born in 1957, who has spent the bulk of his career paying dues with small but finely crafted roles on film and TV. He is only now, with his German Film Award-winning performance as Herbert, a former boxer dying of ALS in "A Heavy Heart," getting the attention his talent deserves.

Also on our list are a pair of 30-something actresses, featured on the German scene for more than a decade, who, thanks to their recent work, are finally poised to become international stars: Antje Traue in films such as "Pandorum," "Man of Steel" and "Seventh Son," and Sandra Hüller in the Oscar-nominated sleeper hit "Toni Erdmann." 

Some come from the theater, others can thank the golden age of TV for their rise, and still others walked straight from the schoolyard onto the big screen. They've played spies and super-villains, widows and workaholics, men imprisoned by others and those enslaved within themselves. 

Whether honed professionals or natural talents, every one of our seven is one-of-a-kind. Remember their faces and memorize their names. These seven are going places.