A leading German actress of the 1970s and 80s, Eva Mattes achieved prominence as part of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's stock company, beginning with a brilliant turn embodying youthful corruption as a murderous nymphet in "Wildwechsel/Jailbait" (1971). This pretty, dark-haired daughter of composer Willy Mattes and film actress Margret Symo started her career as a child actor in stage productions. When she and her mother encountered Fassbinder at a disco in 1970, her mother extolled her abilities to the director who went on to use Mattes in several films. After her exceptional portrayal in "Jailbait," she was cast as the fashion designer's daughter in "The Bitters Tears of Petra von Kant" (1971) and appeared in such seminal efforts as "Fontane Effi Brest" (1974), Fassbinder's loose remake of "The Women" "Frauen in New York" (1977) and "In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden/In a Year of 13 Moons" (1979).
It was only natural that other major directors would call on her services. Werner Herzog cast her as a prostitute who moves to the USA with two other misfits trying to find a better life with little success in " "Stroszek" (1977) and as the doomed lover of Klaus Kinski's "Woyzeck" (1979), for which she won an award at the Cannes Film Festival. Mattes had one of her best screen roles as "Celeste" (1981), the housekeeper of writer Marcel Proust, directed by Percy Adlon. Another triumph was Radu Gabrea's "Ein Mann Wie EVA/A Man Like EVA" (1984), in which she donned male drag and portrayed a character that was clearly supposed to be Fassbinder.
By the late 80s and into the 90s, Mattes found herself cast in supporting roles. "Felix" (1987) offered her a chance to work with Ulrich Tukur in an affecting segment and in "Herbstmilch/Autumn Milk" (1989), she stood out as a portrait photographer. "Das Sommeralbum/The Summer Album" (1992) found Matted playing onscreen mother to her real-life daughter Hannah. She had featured roles in two German films set in the early 20th Century: "Die Serpentinentanzerin/The Serpent Dancer" (1992) dealt with the end of vaudeville and the nascent silent film industry while "Der Kinoerzaehler/The Movie Teller" (1993) traced the affect of talking films on the careers of silent moviemakers. More recently, Mattes was featured in "The Promise" (1995), about an escape from East Berlin circa 1961, and "Brother of Sleep" (1995), a Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, that focused on the musically gifted Elias Johannes Alder.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Began acting in the theatre at age 12
Made first feature film, "O.K."
Began collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder with "Wildwechsel/Jail Bait" and "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant"
First worked for director Werner Herzog, starring in "Stroszek"
Starred as Proust's housekeeper in "Celeste" for director Percy Adlon
Played Fassbinder in "A Man Like Eva"
Co-starred in "The Promise"
Acted in "Enemy at the Gates"