FunViewSenta Berger turns 80: from beauty to beauty

Senta Berger turns 80: from beauty to beauty

The wonderful actress Senta Berger on her 80th birthday.

In the film “Notting Hill” the world-famous film star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) is with friends of the bookseller William Thacker (Hugh Grant). Not a party, but a round table with a handful of people. They’re celebrating William’s sister’s birthday. One brownie is left. “The most tragic figure among us should get him,” explains the host. Everyone applies with a short speech. In the end, Hugh Grant holds the brownie in his hand. The film star Anna Scott intervenes. She wants to join the fight for the brownie.

She explains: “Soon I won’t look as great as I do now. Then they will find out that I cannot play at all. Then I’ll be a pitiful middle-aged woman who still looks a bit like someone who was once famous. “

This speech is completely wrong. Senta Berger taught me that. She taught me something about myself, about a central lack of my perception. It was her beauty that blinded me to her ability. I was so busy watching her for decades that I didn’t think twice about whether it was her acting skills or anything else that fascinated me. No matter who she played, she always brought her beauty with her. I’m sure – no, I’m not sure – there are acting professionals who can make a difference. You manage not to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the actress. I didn’t succeed for a long time.

In the three-part series “Babeck”, which ensured that I skipped a few political meetings in 1968, it was so breathtakingly beautiful that I accepted the Reinecker whisper that was the TV sound of those years just to watch it to be able to. I don’t remember, but I don’t think I missed any of her films or TV appearances for a long time. I loved to watch her live.

I never met Senta Berger. If I had had the opportunity, I would not have taken it. I would have fled. Like I did during an interview with Sophia Loren. For the same reason. Now I know that real beauty is even more overwhelming live than on screen. But I also learned that after a short time you can’t see over it, but you can see through it to a certain extent. To be sure, when you watch her cook or read, over and over again to be frightened by her – happy, but still.

Anna Scott is not old enough in “Notting Hill” to know that people just love to watch her laugh and cry, walk and stand. Only when this magic no longer has any power over people do the gates of perception open. Only now do you see what a great actress she is. Just look at Julia Roberts on the series “Homecoming”. But back to Senta Berger, who was born in Vienna on May 13, 1941, had her first appearance in a film in 1955. In a swarm of girls running down the school stairs. A film with Curd Jürgens, with whom she played decades later in “Jedermann” in Salzburg.

She took acting lessons and was accepted at the Max Reinhardt Seminar at the age of 15. At 17 she had to leave school. Without asking the director, she had accepted a role in a film about the 1956 Hungarian uprising. It was called “The Journey”. Directed by Anatol Litvak and starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.

Nonetheless, or perhaps precisely because of that, Senta Berger became the youngest member of the Vienna Theater in der Josefstadt in 1958.

For the next few decades she made films that no one would want to watch anymore and those with which one has a nostalgic relationship. In Munich, Rome and Hollywood. In her memoirs she writes how men like Kirk Douglas, OW Fischer, Richard Widmark harassed her. Me too. Fifty years ago she was on the cover of “Stern” as one of 374 women who declared: We had an abortion.

Her memoirs are titled “I knew I could fly – memories”. A nice title and a much nicer book. Senta Berger is a narrator. With a voice of its own. With her voice. I hear her when I read how her father “fell in love with this little, soft laughing dove”. That was her mother. That was the relationship between the parents in the beginning. This warmth belongs to Senta Berger. It is the foundation of their beauty. No matter how much she blinded you, her voice created a feeling of trust. Of course, she laid another veil over her intelligence. Her tendency, while she was in the middle of the action, in the center of attention, to be an observer and not be fooled at the same time, was probably pronounced early on. She says she wrote her first stories on the margins of the papers her mother read.

In “Babeck” she is a member of the gangster gang and at the same time helps to uncover their arms dealerships. Forty years later she plays a chief accountant in “Frau Böhm says no”, who also opposes it in the middle of the system. She is incredibly good at it. Driving tears of joy great. Between 2002 and 2019, Arte and ZDF broadcast the series “Unter Verdacht”. Senta Berger played the criminal investigator Dr. Eva Maria Prohacek. Thirty episodes of internal police investigations. The simultaneous inside and outside of the Senta Berger – it has never been more beautiful to watch. Also because her beauty no longer outshone everything else. She was still there. Like a memory. The very first film in the series was showered with Grimme prizes. Director and screenwriter got one. But also all three main roles. Senta Berger is the main character, but she doesn’t crush the others. They bloom next to her.

Senta Berger experienced poverty as a child and she knows how to write about it. She does not close her eyes to evil. In her memoirs, she describes her mother’s fear of the large air raid shelter, which was a shelter from the Allied bombs and one for the men who assaulted women in the dark of the cellar. Senta Berger has the gift of seeing both sides of the coin and she has the gift of playing them both. Sometimes in one person at the same time. That makes us who have been watching her for half a century happy. She taught us to see different types of beauty. Thank you for that too.

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