Bruno Ganz receives Honorary Award
Bruno Ganz is one of the most important German-speaking actors, a multiple award-winner starring in countless productions in international film and theatre. He is an actor who does not slip into a role, but rather absorbs his roles, loves and lives them. An actor who loathes the fuss and frippery of stardom. An actor who does not playact. Indeed, an actor who is actually not an actor. One who does not pretend as if it “were”, but one who personates how it is. Bruno Ganz has brought sundry characters to life. The Honorary Award acknowledges the enormity of his exceptional work, which lives on to this day and beyond.
In appreciation of Bruno Ganz
Naturally, it’s not just the eyes. Even if their warmth, accentuated by countless laughter lines, belies the slightly sardonic grin. Hundreds of roles are palpable in Bruno Ganz’s face. Before he even says a word, I am looking at Jakob Nüssli, from Kurt Gloor’s “Der Erfinder” in 1981, with this mixture of delight and disheartened grief. Or Jonathan Harker’s astonishment when he recognises the dangerous loneliness of Klaus Kinski’s Count Dracula in Werner Herzog’s “Nosferatu” remake in 1979. It was a long and rigorously wilful road from being the young stage actor in Zurich to the holder of the Iffland-Ring, to the acclaimed Faust in Peter Stein’s epochal staging in Hannover, or to the angel in Wim Wenders’ “Der Himmel über Berlin”.
The rest of the world has also known Bruno Ganz since 2004, when he performed his role as Adolf Hitler in “Der Untergang” so impressively that absurdly subtitled pastiches of his rampage in the bunker have circulated the internet ever since. Playing this role, which permitted neither realism nor pathos, was the actor’s own version of “Faust”: a descent into hell that earned him fame.
Bruno Ganz knows how to be pathetic. He knows how to be poignant. Emotional, sentimental and devastatingly effective all in one, with those eyes and crow’s feet, with that voice and that scornfully despairing sneer, until it is no longer possible for you, as the viewer, to focus on a single aspect of the character. And it is precisely when he loses us that Bruno Ganz has us.
Michael Sennhauser, film journalist