Uli Edel

Uli Edel

German director Uli Edel's career was among the most dichotomous in film history, encompassing gritty, acclaimed dramas like "Last Exit to Brooklyn" (1989) and the Oscar-nominated "Baader Meinhof Complex" (2008) and critically panned efforts like "Body of Evidence" (1993), as well as episodic television, documentaries and even a few Westerns. Born in Neuenburg am Rhein, Germany, Edel studied theater in Munich before enrolling in the city's celebrated Film School. There, he met Bernd Eichinger, with whom he would collaborate on several of his more successful feature film efforts, and collaborated with Hollywood director turned film instructor Douglas Sirk on several student projects. After graduation, Edel directed several made-for-television features before making his first feature, "Christiane F" (1981). The controversial drama, about a 13-year-old drug addict, drew both praise and condemnation from critics and audience, and set the tone for much of Edel's later work. Following the release of "Christiane," Edel worked on TV features and documentaries before directing another controversial urban drama, "Last Exit to Brooklyn." The film, based on the novel by Hubert Selby, marked Edel's first reunion with Eichinger, with whom he had fallen out while making "Christiane." The international success of "Brooklyn" led to steady and often wildly diverse work in American features and television; Edel proved adept at biopics like "Tyson" (HBO, 1995) and "Houdini" (The History Channel, 2014), gritty episodic series like "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-1999) and even Westerns like "King of Texas" (TNT, 2002), an adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear" with Patrick Lear in cowboy garb, but also helmed the universally loathed erotic thriller "Body of Evidence" with Madonna. Edel achieved a career peak with "The Baader Meinhof Complex," a potent, Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated drama about the eponymous West German militant group, which also marked his last collaboration with Eichinger before the latter's death in 2011. His career soon resumed its eclectic path, and included "Time You Change" (2010), a biopic of German rap artist Bushido, and "Pay the Ghost" (2015), a supernatural thriller with Nicolas Cage.