actress maria dragus: a little prodigy makes it big
Translation by:Victoria Tarry
Maria Dragus was only 14 years old when she played her first big role in Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (2009). The actress, who was chosen as European Shooting Star 2014 at the Berlinale Festival, now wants to step it up a notch. Interview
"I can speak a little bit of French. It's quite a lot like Romanian." Maria Victoria Dragus certainly has a line up of interviews this afternoon at the Berlinale Festival, but her energy is tireless and with a big smile in a white dress, she gives it all she's got. Especially since she can enjoy participating in the interview in excellent French. The young actress will soon be 20 and her enthusiasm and satisfaction at already having made a name for herself in Berlin are written all over her face. "It's the fourth time for me at Berlinale and I already feel a little bit like a host. Yesterday, I showed my English colleague a currywurst restaurant."
Haneke as cinematic midwife?
Speaking in French, German, English and also in Romanian, her native language, Maria Dragus is caught in a multilingual whirlwind of interviews at the 64th Berlinale. But the roles that she has taken on until now have certainly not been the easiest. Starting with Klara, the pastor's daughter, in the critically appraised film The White Ribbon (2009) by Austrian director Michael Haneke. "I didn't really know Haneke before seeing the film. Then I saw Caché (Hidden, 2005) and I realised that it was going to be a real challenge. But he was very attentive to us, very professional. On set we also had a coach so that we youngsters could learn about the very difficult plot."
Scene from The White Ribbon (2009) by Austrian director Michael Haneke.
The film was a triumph and Maria Dragus ended up the steps at Cannes where the film was awarded the Golden Palm. "Being on the red carpet at Cannes was crazy. During the screening I couldn't believe that it was really me on the screen. When I saw the quality of work that Haneke directs, I said to my dad: I've made up my mind, this is what I want to do. I want to be an actress". At just 15 years of age, Maria Dragus pocketed the German Film Award for Best Supporting Acress. She followed this as terrorist Gudrun Esslin's sister in the Red Army Faction film Wer, wenn nicht wir (Who if not us, 2011) a film that has also caused a stir at Berlinale. Then there was Emily Atef's Tue-moi (Kill me, 2013), filmed partly in Marseille.
From now on, the talented prodigy wants to step it up a notch. At nearly 20, she no longer wants to play little girl roles. "It's time to move on to something different. At the moment I am working on a ZDF channel trilogy which is about an East meets West story. I will finally be playing an adult role." And as for a change in repertoire, maybe she could go down the romantic comedy path? "Oh, that would be brilliant. In Paris, obviously, I love that city! But first of all I need to improve my French." Aim for the stars!
This interview was originally published on the Berlinale Blog of the Goethe-Institut France. Copyrights: (C) Sébastien Vannier/Goethe-Institut France
cafébabel at the 64th berlin film festival
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Translated from Maria Dragus: petit prodige deviendra grande