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Helena Lindblad: Bruno Ganz was able to make Hitler human

”I can't say I understand Hitler. Not even the eyewitnesses who were with him in the bunker was able to describe his essence. He had no mercy, no compassion, no understanding for the victims of the war. How I tried I could not reach to Hitler's heart, for it was nothing.”

So said Bruno Ganz on paradrollen as Adolf Hitler in Oliver Hirschbiegels oscar nominated ”the Downfall – Hitler and the Third reich's fall.”

Bruno Ganz as Hitler in ”Downfall”. Photo: Newmarket/Courtesy Everett Collection

the Film from 2004, set in the Führer's last days in the bunker in the days before he took his own life. Heartless or not, so did Ganz in all cases to make ”their” Adolf Hitler to a human and not monsters.

an equally desperate, devious and pitiful figure who clings to his power and tries to scare his bunkergäng with the flame of anger over the total defeat that awaits. An unforgettable interpretation of the role that quickly became one of the world's most widely spread and black comic mem, where Hitler's tirades and trembling fingers got a number of different meanings.

Bruno Ganz was born in neutral Switzerland during the war. He made his acting debut already in the early sixties but had in the beginning of the career of the foremost successes in the theatre. Together with the world-renowned theater company Schaubühne in Berlin, he made numerous groundbreaking and innovative klassikeruppsättningar during the German golden age.

In the mid-90s, he became the bearer of the teatermytiska Iffland-ring, which since the 1700s, the legacy of the which is considered to be the best actor – which strengthened Ganz position as the German-speaking world's foremost scenskådespelare. The latter is his tour de force starring role in Peter Stein's monumental ”Faust”set in the year 2000.

were talking one time in the DN about Bruno Ganz as ”an aggressive, intellectual actor, whose anger, when he speaks, from gomvalvet, not from the bottom stomach”. Perfect of course for his role in ”the Downfall”.

But what you might be mainly associated with the Ganz persona on the screen is the melancholy, lågmäldheten and the little poetic prophetic charisma.

From ”The american friend”. Photo: Road Movies/Films Du Losange/Filmverlag Der Autoren/Kobal/Rex

Wim Wenders was one of the directors as to the full use of Ganz special style. First it was ”The american friend” in 1977, a Patricia Highsmith-adaptation in which Dennis Hopper plays a Ripley-figure in a cowboy hat and overalls against Bruno Ganz dying rammakare that are persuaded to be consistent with a contract killing.

Ten years later, they cooperated again in the åttiotalets hottest art film, ”the Sky over Berlin”. Ganz plays a rockklädd angel who tenderly watch over the divided city of Berlin – a heavenly hottie who dreams to become human, to drink a cup of coffee and eat hot dogs at a food stand, to love.

Ganz in ”wings of desire”. Photo: TT the

, proximity and distance, language and silence runs like a red thread through the Ganz filmography. The great Greek director Theo Angelopoulos summed up this in one of his last big movies ”Eternity and a day”. Ganz may have been the German number one, but still feels his career is often synonymous with post-war Europaprojekt.

It looks like a given that one of Ganz's last film roles is the role of ”Verge” in Lars von Trier's ”The house that Jack built”. Verge, whose name suggests relationship with the Virgil who leads Dante through the ”Inferno” – is the one that will guide Matt Dillons serial killer by premise to the underworld.

Matt Dillon and Bruno Ganz on the helvetesvandring in ”The house that Jack built”. Photo: TT

You will miss Bruno Ganz. With his passing goes the european film missing out on a melancholy professionals who were expert in to guide the viewers between heaven and hell.

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