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Richard Scioli

Richard Scioli

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Also Known As: Ric Scioli Died:
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A luminous bold-featured, blonde Teutonic beauty, Hanna Schygulla met Rainer Werner Fassbinder while taking an acting class in Munich and began working with him at the Munich Action Theater, where he assembled the nucleus of his cinematic stock company. She appeared in nearly 20 features in 12 years for the workaholic director. Providing the dramatic cornerstone of some of his finest films, Schygulla became established as one of the leading European actresses of her generation, and her facility with languages freed her to work in the idiom of different countries.Schygulla projected sexuality as strength. In two 1969 films for Fassbinder, she played characters (a prostitute in "Love Is Colder than Death," a possessive girlfriend in "Gods of the Plague") who betrayed the men in their lives, and in his "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" (1972), her insolent working-class model, confident in her ability to break hearts of either sex, used her looks to get ahead while refusing to surrender her independence. The director's "Effi Brest" (1974) married her to a controlling older man whose gentle reign of terror was not enough to prevent her from cuckolding him, a fact which when discovered unleashed all...

A luminous bold-featured, blonde Teutonic beauty, Hanna Schygulla met Rainer Werner Fassbinder while taking an acting class in Munich and began working with him at the Munich Action Theater, where he assembled the nucleus of his cinematic stock company. She appeared in nearly 20 features in 12 years for the workaholic director. Providing the dramatic cornerstone of some of his finest films, Schygulla became established as one of the leading European actresses of her generation, and her facility with languages freed her to work in the idiom of different countries.

Schygulla projected sexuality as strength. In two 1969 films for Fassbinder, she played characters (a prostitute in "Love Is Colder than Death," a possessive girlfriend in "Gods of the Plague") who betrayed the men in their lives, and in his "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" (1972), her insolent working-class model, confident in her ability to break hearts of either sex, used her looks to get ahead while refusing to surrender her independence. The director's "Effi Brest" (1974) married her to a controlling older man whose gentle reign of terror was not enough to prevent her from cuckolding him, a fact which when discovered unleashed all his Prussian fury, and "The Marriage of Maria Braun" (1978), which finally brought Fassbinder the acceptance he sought and confirmed Schygulla as his ideal actress, cast her as a self-made woman whose rise to prosperity paralleled that of postwar West Germany. Performances in his landmark TV epic "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (1980) and the feature "Lili Marleen" (1981), an attempt to cash in on the Maria Braun formula, rounded out their collaboration prior to the director's premature death in 1982.

Immediately post-Fassbinder, Schygulla worked with French director Jean-Luc Goddard ("Passion" 1982) but found considerably more success the following year, winning the Best Actress Award at Cannes for Italian director Marco Ferreri's "Story of Piera" and excelling in her portrayal of strong-willed characters in former Fassbinder colleague Margarethe von Trotta's "Friends and Husbands/Sheer Madness" and Polish helmsman Andrzej Wajda's "A Love in Germany." The friendship between her and another woman in "Friends and Husbands" alienated the men in both women's lives, and for Wajda she threw caution (and her reputation) to the wind to consort with a younger Polish POW. She acted in her first US feature ("Delta Force") and made the NBC miniseries "Peter the Great" in 1986, but her best work in English is undoubtedly her sinister maid for Kenneth Branagh's "Dead Again" (1991). Since then she has remained busy in European features, perhaps most notably Ivan Fila's "Lea" (1996) and as Magda Goebbels in Fernando Trueba's acclaimed "The Girl of Your Dreams" (1998).

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