Talk about coincidence. Or premonition. A few days ago, getting ready for a trip to Lisbon, I remembered the great Alain Tanner film “In the White City” (“Dans la ville blanche” in the French original; 1983) and watched it on You Tube. Bruno Ganz was fabulous as always, as the AWOL ship mechanic, not easy as he spends the entire time going up and down steps in the Alfama or mailing letters and only occasionally interacting with other people. I don’t think I’d had one conscious thought about the actor (who, I discovered to my surprise on that occasion, was Swiss and not German as I’d always thought) since “Downfall” and what was a pitch-perfect portrayal of Hitler as we imagine him in those final weeks in the famous bunker.
Alain Tanner, “Dans la ville blanche”
On a roll, I went on searching IMDB and YouTube. Remembering Ganz as the superb thespian he was, I watched excerpts from Wim Wenders’s “Wings of Desire” and other forever famous films he was in.
And on Saturday, at 77, he dies of colon cancer. I’m glad I remembered him so thoroughly and so recently, a fare-thee-well, though I didn’t know it. Perhaps one of Wenders’s angels had whispered the upcoming news in my ear.
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