Sibel Kekilli

(via the Film Experience) Here’s Christoph Waltz giving actress Sibel Kekilli a German Oscar for her role in When We Leave (which is, actually, now playing at Tribeca). She made her debut in the amazing, soul-searing film Head-On.

Since The Girlfriend Experience played Tribeca last year, I had the wonderful experience of writing as many articles on porn stars on film as I could, for the sake of SEOs. Thank you, Sasha Grey*, for making me look good at my job. I sincerely mean that.

The best piece I wrote was a look at porn stars who acted in mainstream films. The point of the piece was, despite the fact that Kevin Smith will cast some porn stars in Zack and Miri cameos, that it’s generally European/arthouse cinema where actors are given a real chance to shine, past be dammed.

Kekilli is one of them - however, in her case, it sounds like youthful indiscretion that came out in the tabloids after she made a splash in Head-On.

From This Reelist is Rated R

Head On

Head On (Gegen die Wand)

Dir. Fatih Akin (2004)

Akin’s second movie is an incredible, visceral film about two Turkish-German immigrants who meet at an insane asylum, start a marriage of convenience, and then deal with the ultimate violence and actions that define their lives. Co-star Sibel Kekilli was just 23 when she debuted in this film. It’s an acting tour-de-force; she’s required to move through many personas, from crazy punk rock babe to threatened Turkish girl (honor killings have a role in this film) to the low-life of a nihilist. It was a bit of a Lana Turner story for Kekilli: she was plucked from the Cologne (Germany) mall and landed the role over 300 other actresses. However, after the film won the Golden Bear at that year’s Berlinale, the ensuing publicity meant that a tabloid broke the story about her work as a porn actress prior to this film. The media controversy led to Kekilli’s father stating, “I can never forgive her for it. I don’t want to see her ever again.” Kekilli, on the other hand, called out the tabloids while accepting an award, referring to the situation as “media rape.” She’s still acting today.

* (Sasha Grey being a very modern American porn star - lacking surgical enhancements and fluent in the culture of cool - could potentially cross over, and it will be interesting to see whether that happens or not. I could also see her becoming a porn mogul of sorts.)