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ALEXANDRA MARIA LARA (Marlene Lauda) is a Romanian-German actress best known for her roles in the Oscar-nom inated biographical drama Downfall (2004) and Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth (2007).

Born in Bucharest, Lara is the only child of Romanian actor Valentin Platareanu. At the age of four, her family fled to West Germany to escape from the Nicolae Ceausescu regime in Communist Romania. Although the family had originally planned to immigrate to Canada, they settled in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Wurttemberg, before eventually moving to Berlin. After graduating from the Franzosisches Gymnasium Berlin in 1997, Lara studied acting under the tutelage of her father, co-founder of the Theaterwerkstatt Charlottenburg. By the age of 16, she was playing leading roles in various television dramas.

In 2008, she played supporting roles in the German productions The Baader Meinhof Complex and Hinter Kaifeck, opposite Benno Furmann. Aside from her roles in various films that year, she was a member of the feature-film jury at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Several international films followed, including Anton Corbijn's Control; Spike Lee's Miracle in St. Anna; Stephen Daldry's The Reader; The Company; and The City of Your Final Destination, with Laura Linney and Sir Anthony Hopkins. At the end of 2009, Lara played the leading roles in Sam Garbarski's Quartier lointain and the romantic drama City of Life.

In 2010, Lara starred in Bruno Chiche's Small World, alongside Gerard Depardieu. In 2011, Lara starred in Detlev Buck's Woman in Love, opposite German actor Matthias Schweighofer; Andrzej Jakimowski's Imagine; and Christoph Schaub's Nachtlarm.

In 2012, Lara was recognized with the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture for her contributions to the art of cinema. In 2005, she received Germany's Golden Camera for Best German Actress for her role in Downfall. In 2006, Lara won Best Actress at the Milan International Film Festival for her role in The Fisherman and His Wife.

Lara currently resides in Berlin with her partner, actor Sam Riley.

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