On 16 October, the actress Tanja von Oertzen died in Heidelberg at the age of 70. She was born in 1950 in Moscow. After graduating from a boarding school in southern Germany, she decided to become a stage actress. In Stuttgart she first studied ballet with John Cranko, then she went to the HMDK to study acting. There she met the director Peter Palitzsch, 30 years her senior, whom she later married. Her numerous engagements led her to the Schauspiel Frankfurt, the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, the Residenztheater Munich, the Theater Basel and the Berliner Ensemble, among others. From Emilia Galotti to Prospero she has played many great roles of world literature and worked with important directors of her generation such as Wolfgang Engel, Dieter Jendreyko, Hans Neuenfels and Jossi Wieler.
She played her last film role in Lisa Charlotte Friederich‘s debut film “Live“, which UCM.ONE is releasing under the Artkeim² label. The director had a very personal relationship with her. Lisa had already seen her on stage in Heidelberg as a schoolgirl and one evening – as a test of courage – she approached her in a pub together with a friend. “I told her that I wanted to be an actress; she gave me a lot of courage back then by saying that she could imagine me doing that. We stayed in touch loosely, and when I actually passed the entrance exam for the acting school, we went for a beer afterwards. She even became my role teacher then. I learned an incredible amount about language from her. Nobody could read Hölderlin or Gottfried Benn like her.”
The contact didn’t break off even after acting school; during Friederich’s visits to her native Heidelberg, whenever possible, a meeting in von Oertzen’s favourite café was on the agenda. When the director wrote the screenplay for “Live“, she wanted her mentor to be a part of it and wrote the role of Officer Bausch for her. “Luckily, she liked it and agreed. The shooting day with her was a really tough night shoot with lots of rain. That must have been very exhausting for her. But she still had a strong desire to continue working with us. A fortnight ago we received the funding approval for a short film project with her, which the three of us, Rike, Tanja and I, had applied for; unfortunately Tanja was no longer alive by then. I saw her in September, she was a bit weak as usual, but apart from that she was very cheerful and was eager to work on our short film project. Her sudden death came very unexpectedly, and Rike and I miss her very much.“