← All sections



Everybody knows Udo Kier. If not his name, then his face. Since 50 years the cosmopolitan from Cologne has been enriching the silver screens all over the world: that he played his first lead in Eddy Saller’s splendid sleazy crime thriller SCHAMLOS in 1968, a year of great change, may have been an accident. It probably wasn’t though. The world was on the lookout for an alternative masculinity and counterpositions to the hypermasculine alpha - and found Udo Kier. Striking blue eyes, high cheek bones, combined with an air of androgyny. The proud artificiality and daring eccentricity in his style and his characters inspired dozens of film makers.

Not many others hopped so effortlessly between the arena of exploitation films and auteur cinema. He has worked with Fassbinder and Borowczyk and became a major collaborator of Christoph Schlingensief and his disruptive excess cinema in the 1980s: where Kier was, ecstasy wasn’t far. In contrast to his contemporary Helmut Berger, he never lost control over his career.

The early 1990s saw two creative initial sparks: on the one hand Kier worked with Lars von Trier for the first time, something that he was going to repeat many times over the years. On the other, with his role in Gus van Sant’s MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO he successfully managed the leap to Hollywood, where he would go on to show up again and again in smaller and supporting roles, and enrich even the most sleek and factory-ready films with his character and personality. Udo Kier seems to be a creation of cinema, made for film: art and commercialism, pulp and auteur cinema, the same love for both. And when he leaves people whisper: legend. Udo, we love you!