Ingrid Caven

Ingrid Caven (/kɑːvɛn/; born 3 August 1938)[1] is a German film actress and singer. She is best known for her roles in several films directed by her husband, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, including Love Is Colder Than Death (1969), Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (1970), and The American Soldier (1970). She continued to appear in Fassbinder's films after their 1972 divorce until his death in 1982. She has also appeared in Silent Night (1995), 35 Shots of Rum (2009) and Suspiria (2018).

Ingrid Caven
Ingrid Schmidt

(1938-08-03) 3 August 1938
Years active1969–present
Rainer Werner Fassbinder (m. 19701972)
Partner(s)Jean-Jacques Schuhl
RelativesTrudeliese Schmidt (sister)

Early life

Caven was born Ingrid Schmidt in Saarbrücken, Germany on 3 August 1938. She had one younger sister, Trudeliese Schmidt (1943–2004), who went on to become an opera singer. Caven's father worked as a tobacco trader.[2] Prior to establishing herself as a film actress in 1970s, Caven worked as a teacher in Upper Bavaria.[3]


Caven originally began acting onstage in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's antiteater acting troupe in the 1960s.[4] Her film debut was in 1969 in the short film Fernes Jamaica; this was swiftly followed by her first feature film Love Is Colder Than Death, directed by Fassbinder, to whom she was briefly married (1970–72).[5] She also had a supporting role in his film The Merchant of Four Seasons (1970), a drama about a farmer who drinks himself to death.[4] Even after their divorce, Caven remained a frequent collaborator of Fassbinder until his death in 1982,[4] also appearing in his films La Paloma (1974), Fox and His Friends (1975),[6] and Mother Küsters' Trip to Heaven (1975).[7]

Her career was at its peak in the 1970s and early 1980s, mostly in film. In the 1970s, while making films in France, Caven became acquainted with fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent,[8] and became one of his muses; he designed one of her stage costumes during her career as a singer.[9]

In 1979 she was a member of the jury at the 29th Berlin International Film Festival.[10] In 1981 Caven starred alongside Carole Bouquet in the film Day of the Idiots as a doctor, and the next year she won an award for Outstanding Individual Achievement: Actress at the German Film Awards for her performance as Inga in the film Looping - Der lange Traum vom kurzen Glück.

Caven has appeared in several films since the turn of the millennium, including supporting parts in Claire Denis's 35 Shots of Rum (2009), and Luca Guadagnino's American remake of Suspiria (2018).[8]

Personal life

Caven has lived in Paris since 1977.[11][12] She resides with her partner, French writer Jean-Jacques Schuhl, whose book Ingrid Caven won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2000.

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1969Love Is Colder Than DeathProstituierteGerman: Liebe ist kälter als der Tod
1970Gods of the PlagueMagdalena FullerGerman: Götter der Pest
1970Why Does Herr R. Run Amok?NachbarinGerman: Warum läuft Herr R. Amok?
1970The American SoldierSängerinGerman: Der amerikanische Soldat
1970The Niklashausen JourneyScreaming girlTelevision film; German: Niklashauser Fart
1971The Merchant of Four SeasonsHans's great loveGerman: Händler der vier Jahreszeiten
1971Rio das MortesHannas KolleginTelevision film
1971Beware of a Holy WhoreStatistinGerman: Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte
1971Die Ahnfrau - Oratorium nach Franz GrillparzerGeistTelevision film
1972Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin KingLola Montez / Erste NornaGerman: Ludwig – Requiem für einen jungfräulichen König
1972Tonight or NeverActressGerman: Heute nacht oder nie
1973The Tenderness of WolvesDoraGerman: Die Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe
1973World on a WireUrschiMiniseries; German: Welt am Draht
1974MarthaIlseTelevision film
1974La PalomaLa Paloma
1974My Little LovesLa mèreFrench: Mes Petites Amoureuses
1975Playing with FireLa servante du bordelFrench: Le Jeu avec le feu
1975Fox and His FriendsSängerinGerman: Faustrecht der Freiheit
1975Mother Küsters' Trip to HeavenCorinnaGerman: Mutter Küsters Fahrt zum Himmel
1975Fear of Fear EddaTelevision film; German: Angst vor der Angst
1975Lieber Franz ich liebe DichLillian
1976Shadow of AngelsLily BrestGerman: Schatten der Engel
1976I Only Want You to Love MeNähmaschinenverkäuferinTelevision film; German: Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt
1976A Young EmmanuelleAnneFrench: Néa
1976Satan's BrewLisaGerman: Satansbraten
1978DespairHotel Manager
1978In a Year of 13 MoonsDie rote ZoraGerman: In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden
1980Narcissus and PsycheIngrid
1981LoopingLissyFilmband in Gold für darstellerische Leistung beim Deutschen Filmpreis
1981Day of the IdiotsDr. LauraGerman: Tag der Idioten
1982Hors SaisonLila
1983The Roaring FiftiesClaudineGerman: Die wilden Fünfziger
1986L'araignée de satin Mme de Challens
1987Devil's Paradise Madame
1993My Favorite SeasonLa femme du barFrench: Ma saison préférée
1995Silent NightSängerinGerman: Stille Nacht
1999Le Temps retrouvéGerman: Die Wiedergefundene Zeit
1999Marcel Proust's Time Regained La princesse Russe
200935 Shots of RumLa tante allemande
2016Sleeping BeautyLa fée méchante
2018SuspiriaMiss Vendegast



  • Au Pigall's (1978 LP Barclay, live in Paris, re-released on CD Barclay in 2001)
  • Der Abendstern (1979 LP RCA, re-released on CD Viellieb Rekords in 1999)
  • Live In Hamburg (1980 LP RCA, concert at Audimax Hamburg, May 9, 1980)
  • Erinnerungen An Édith Piaf (1983 LP RCA, Édith Piaf chansons with German lyrics)
  • Spass (1986 LP Schariwari)
  • Chante Piaf 'En Public' (1989 LP Clever, recorded in 1988, live at Théâtre de l'Athénée, Paris, re-released on CD Fpr Music in 2001)
  • Chambre 1050 (1996 CD Arcade/2000 CD Tricatel, 13 songs from Helle Nacht in French)
  • Helle Nacht (1998 CD Viellieb Rekords, 16 songs, German version of Chambre 1050)


  • Chansons und Themen aus Fassbinder Filmen (1994 CD Alhambra, includes 3 Caven songs from the movie "Mutter Küsters Fahrt zum Himmel/Mother Kuesters Goes To Heaven", 1975)
  • Hors saison (CD released in Japan in 1993, includes 6 songs sung by Ingrid Caven)


  1. "Ingrid Caven". BBC Music. British Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on 4 November 2018.
  2. Fischer & Hörner 2013, p. 259.
  3. "Biographies: Ingrid Caven". Scala. Frankfurter Societäts-Druckerei (1–4): 4. 1989. OCLC 890503896.
  4. Reimer & Reimer 2010, p. 77.
  5. Hodgkiss, Rosalind (8 January 1999). "The bitter tears of Fassbinder's women". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 19 October 2018.
  6. Lorenz, Schmid & Gehr 1999, p. 2.
  7. Lorenz, Schmid & Gehr 1999, p. 142.
  8. Desta, Yohana (29 October 2018). "Suspiria: A Guide to the Coven's Key Wicked Witches". Vanity Faire. Condé Nast.
  9. "Stage Costumes for Ingrid Caven". Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Archived from the original on 5 November 2018.
  10. "Berlinale 1979: Juries". Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  11. Lorenz, Schmid & Gehr 1999, p. 41.
  12. "Ingrid Caven". Volksbühne. Berlin. Archived from the original on 4 November 2018.

Works cited

  • Fischer, Michael; Hörner, Fernand (2013). Lied und populäre Kultur - Song and Popular Culture (in German). 57. Germany: Waxmann Verlag. ISBN 978-3-830-97787-2.
  • Lorenz, Juliane; Schmid, Marion; Gehr, Herbert, eds. (1999). Chaos as Usual: Conversations about Rainer Werner Fassbinder. New York: Applause Books. ISBN 978-1-557-83359-4.
  • Reimer, Robert C.; Reimer, Carol (2010). The A to Z of German Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-1-461-73186-3.
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