Saturday, February 16, 2019

Bruno Ganz, star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Has Died

From Variety:

Bruno Ganz: He Played Hitler and a Hovering Angel, But Was Most Memorable When Caught Between Good and Evil
A lot of people probably don’t know it, but when the superb Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who died Friday at 77, took on the role that brought him his greatest jolt of fame, playing Adolf Hitler in “Downfall,” it was one of the most paradoxical casting choices in modern movies. Ganz, portraying Hitler in the final days of World War II, when the Führer was trapped in his bunker (and, more than that, in the implosion of his evil dreams), did an impersonation of Hitler at his most full-throttle fulminating. The performance was raging, antic, operatic, possessed; it was true homicidal acting. (That’s one reason why “Downfall” became the movie that launched a thousand Hitler Internet memes.)

Yet up until then, that kind of smash-mouth volatility had almost nothing to do with the persona of Bruno Ganz. He was sly, pensive, puckish yet woeful, inwardly commanding, almost always intensely becalmed, an actor with a light in his eye that could radiate anything from merry deviousness to the fiercest of existential distress. At times, Ganz exuded a Continental version of the qualities we associate with Willem Dafoe — haunted yet beatific, with a worldly benevolence. In the last film I saw him in, Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built,” Ganz played a kind of all-knowing metaphysical guardian-angel head shrinker for serial killers, and if that sounds loony tunes (okay, it was a Lars von Trier film), the wonder of Ganz’ performance is that he sold it and you completely bought it. He played the character as a variation on his specialty, a spirit wanderer who knew all about the darkness yet remained, in a hard-won way, on the side of good.....MORE
Here's a parody from about a year after the meme really took hold:

Here's one of the smarter parodies:

And Mr. Ganz' thoughts on the parodies:

Ooops. This one:

One more.
We posted this on September 19, 2008. Everything was collapsing. Everything:
  • On September 7, 2008 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship.
  • On September 14, 2008 Merrill Lynch agreed to be acquired by Bank of America to avoid a net capital violation.
  • On September 15 Lehman filed their bankruptcy petition.
  • On September 16 AIG became a 79.9% subsidiary of the U.S. Treasury.
  • Within 10 more days the Nation's largest thrift, WaMu was seized and five days later Wachovia was gobbled up and we were off to the races.
Good times, good times.