Saturday, June 16, 2007
A Brief Introduction
So who is Nastassja Kinski? Here are a few facts for the uninitiated. She was born in Berlin in 1961 or 1959 as Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski to actor's Klaus Kinski and Ruth Brigitte Tocki. Her mother was a poet of the page and her father a poet of the screen and it this artistic nature that has fueled Nastassja throughout her life and career.
After some early work as a model, thirteen year old Nastassja made her film debut under the guidance of legendary German director Wim Wenders in his feature THE WRONG MOVE.
After her work in Wender's film Nastassja gave a string of memorable performances in films such as the Hammer horror production TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER and the erotic love story STAY AS YOU ARE. Her career really took off though when she met famed Polish director Roman Polanski at a modeling session he was photographing.
Polanski had long wanted to film his late wife's, Sharon Tate, favorite book (Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE DUBERVILLES) but had been unable to find the right lead actress. One look at Kinski convinced him she was the only one who could play the tragic heroine and the young Nastassja was given the coveted role.
Nastassja is astounding in TESS and it won her the Golden Globe for most promising newcomer and made her an international star. The period of 1980-1984 is her peak as an actress and cemented her legend. She would make a series of films in these four years that have become cult classics even though they weren't all acclaimed at the time.
Highlights of this period include CAT PEOPLE, ONE FROM THE HEART, EXPOSED, MOON IN THE GUTTER, UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, MARIA'S LOVERS and PARIS TEXAS. Nastassja was a major star in these four years and was often compared to Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. She appeared on an endless string of magazine covers all over the world and was one of the most written about figures of the early to mid eighties. Her popularity reached its peak when she posed nude with a snake for Richard Avedon, with the image becoming one of the biggest selling posters of all time.
A disastrous film directed by Hugh Hudson called REVOLUTION hurt Nastassja's career as well as her costar, Al Pacino. From 1987 to 1994 Nastassja would appear in just European films and while her fame faded her acting skills became even more fine tuned. Many of these films are hard to find in America but I have managed to get them and look forward to posting reviews of them.
In the mid 90s Nastassja returned to American screens with two very fine performances in ONE NIGHT STAND and YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. Since then she has worked pretty prolifically, often in films no where near as good as she is but she has consistently delivered fine work and has developed into an extraordinary character actress.
Outside of a cameo in David Lynch's most recent film, INLAND EMPIRE, Nastassja's film career has been very quiet the last few years. She is known as a devoted mother and her concentration on her family is extremely commendable. I do hope she does return to the screen again as she is one of our great actresses and still an astonishingly beautiful woman.
To keep up with her future projects I would check either her MySpace or the Nastassja Kinski jp site, both of which are linked to the right. I will, of course, post any updates on her career here also.