CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

Cannes Film Festival 2017: Diane Kruger’s Latest Film Explores How to Cope After a Terrorist Attack

In The Fade, the new film from acclaimed filmmaker Fatih AkinIn, explores what happens after a terrorist attack. “With what just happened in Manchester, it’s all the more painful to see it,” Kruger says.

Written by Gillian Sagansky
Photographed by Victoria Stevens

“It’s a very personal film,” said Diane Kruger. “And with what just happened in Manchester, it’s all the more painful to see it.” The actress was speaking from the Croisette, where Fatih Akin’s thriller In the Fade is set to premiere tonight in the competitive slate of the Cannes Film Festival.

Kruger plays the starring role of Katija, a woman who loses her family to a terrorist explosion. While dealing with the aftermath and immense loss, Katija plots her revenge against the Neo-Nazi terrorists who got away. “The film explores how you live after something like this happens, when you lose the people you love most in life, how to go on—with the grief, shock and heartache.”

While this is the Hanover-bred actress’ first fully German language film—she of course memorably spoke her native tongue in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds—it’s not her first time at the Cannes rodeo, having first touched base in the French Riviera for the premiere of Troy in 2004, then her most high-profile role as Helen, and later in 2009 when Basterds competed for the Palme d’Or. “It’s truly non-stop here, I just got here and haven’t had a moment to breathe! It’s great though.” On Sunday, at the festival’s closing ceremony, Kruger was honored with the coveted Best Actress prize for her harrowing performance, which many critics called a highlight of the film.

The film is so eerily appropriate with the Manchester bombing…

It sucks how timely it is. And because of that I’m even more sensitive to that subject. You always hear and see that an X number of people were killed in a bombing, but you never see how people actually live with it after, which is what this film is about. So the reaction to the film will be interesting.

But your character, Katija, doesn’t just accept her fate, she tracks down the Neo-Nazis who killed her family…

In the film I catch who did it, there’s a big trial—I don’t want to give it away— but they get off. They have an O.J. Simpson thing, even though there is no probability that they didn’t do it. I don’t want to say it’s about revenge, but it’s about how to live through something like that as well. On top of the loss, the cruelty, on top of everything, my character is not a killer. She’s a regular person.

Diane Kruger stars in Fatih Akin's In The Fade, which made its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.

It’s such a loaded movie. What was the most emotionally trying scene?

Honestly, I feel like I nearly died from it. Between the guilt she feels from having dropped off her kid and her husband to go to a spa with friends, and the guilt that my husband’s parents put on me, they say, ‘If you just did what you should have been doing, and taking care of him and the kid they would still be alive.’ From that, to picking out coffins for the funeral, to coming home to an empty nest and putting all your hope into, ‘At least the killers are going to go to jail for what they’ve done,’ and then once they’re free, asking myself how can I live knowing that these people are free? It’s not an easy movie. I feel I gave everything to this film.

What real-life research or elements did you bring to the film?

The director is a very realist filmmaker. I met with a lot of people who lost children, who lost kids, through murder. I’ve heard from women that when people die from murder, the only thing that gives them any semblance of closure is to see the body, to bury them, to say good bye. And in this case, my character’s husband and daughter were killed with a bomb, so there’s no body. In the film, Katija begs the police officer if she can at least let her say good bye to her kid or husband. The officer tells me there is nothing to say goodbye to. That was a really difficult day on set.

It must have been so heartbreaking meeting with those who have lost loved ones…

You try to ask questions to understand. But you just see these completely shattered people. Some people have miraculously found solace by talking about it, while others can barely speak. Also, we all know how we feel when we see these images on television—whether it’s refugees found dead on shores, or body parts in the streets because of attacks. I just know the horror I feel just watching it. I tried to let that pain inhabit me; I still feel Katija every day.

Diane Kruger Is the Queen of the Red Carpet

Diane Kruger attends the Golden Globes.

Dan MacMedan

Diane Kruger attends the Inglourious Basterds premiere held at the Palais Des Festivals during the 62nd International Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2009 in Cannes, France.

Michel Dufour

Diane Kruger attends the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS 2009 benefit at the Hotel du Cap during the 62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2009 in Antibes, France.

Dominique Charriau

Diane Kruger attends the Palme d’Or Award Closing Ceremony held at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2010 in Cannes, France.

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Diane Kruger attends the Costume Institute Gala Benefit to celebrate the opening of the “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 8, 2010 in New York City.

Rabbani and Solimene Photography

Diane Kruger during 2007/2008 Chanel Cruise Show Presented by Karl Lagerfeld at Hangar 8 in Santa Monica, California, United States.

Jason Merritt

Diane Kruger during 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted by Graydon Carter – Arrivals at Mortons in West Hollywood, California, United States.

Gregg DeGuire

Diane Kruger attends the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2011 in New York City.

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Diane Kruger during The 78th Annual Academy Awards – Arrivals at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States.

Dan MacMedan

Diane Kruger arrive at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California.

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Diane Kruger arrives at the 15th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards held at the Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2010 in Hollywood, California.

Jason Merritt

Diane Kruger arrives at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

John Shearer

Diane Kruger attends the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

Steve Granitz

Diane Kruger attends the Opening Ceremony and “Moonrise Kingdom” Premiere during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2012 in Cannes, France.

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Diane Kruger attends the “Amour” Premiere during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2012 in Cannes, France.

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Diane Kruger attends the Closing Ceremony & Therese Desqueyroux Premiere during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 27, 2012 in Cannes, France.

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CDiane Kruger arrives at 2012 amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Hotel Du Cap on May 24, 2012 in Cap D’Antibes, France.

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Diane Kruger arrives at Lynn Hirschberg celebrates W’s It Girls with Lancome and Dom Perignon at A.O.C. on January 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

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Diane Kruger attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Diane Kruger attends “The Sea Of Trees” Premiere during the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2015 in Cannes, France.

George Pimentel

Diane Kruger attends the “China: Through The Looking Glass” Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.

Dimitrios Kambouris

Diane Kruger attends the 2015 CFDA Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

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Diane Kruger attends the opening ceremony and premiere of ‘Everest’ during the 72nd Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2015 in Venice, Italy.

Ian Gavan

Diane Kruger attends the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California.

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Diane Kruger attends a premiere for ‘Black Mass’ during the 72nd Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2015 in Venice, Italy.

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Diane Kruger attends the LACMA Art + Film Gala honoring Alejandro G. Iñárritu and James Turrell and presented by Gucci at LACMA on November 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

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Diane Kruger attends amfAR’s Inspiration Gala in Los Angeles on September 9, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Amy Graves

Diane Kruger attends The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globe Party, presented with FIJI Water, Grey Goose Vodka, Lindt Chocolate, and Moroccan Oil at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

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NEDiane Kruger attends the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017 in New York City.

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Diane Kruger arrives at the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d’Antibes, France.

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How do you feel her? Is it something as simple as passing a family on a street, and seeing love and family in a different light?

Yes. Also in my personal life, my stepdad, and my grandmother passed away. My stepfather passed away actually while we were filming. Sometimes life is just weird. Things just happen at weird times. So I had a lot of personal grief. It almost feels raw. It was a very specific time in my life. It’s hard to explain this to someone. I know I was feeling very honest through those scenes.

With such an emotionally trying script, what made you sign on to the project?

From the beginning I was emotionally invested in this woman—from the get go. I wanted to know what she was going to do. It was a very emotional movie. Yes, she is dealing with a terrorist attack, but that’s on the side. We follow this woman through this journey of grief, and I connected with that. I felt her pain, I felt her rage of knowing these people were getting off. Every scene she went through, I felt I wasn’t acting. I felt I was there, with her, and that’s what attracted me to it. Even being from Germany, the amount of Turkish immigrants in Germany is a big problem. It continues to be a racial problem. A blonde German girl marrying a Turkish immigrant like I did in the film is still frowned upon. I know these characters, I knew my character. It was one of those movies you felt that was written for you, that you had always walked in that character’s footsteps.

Bella Hadid, Jessica Chastain, and Elle Fanning Lead the Charge at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival

Bella Hadid in Alexandre Vauthier and Bulgari at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Marion Cotillard at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Robin Wright in Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Julianne Moore in Givenchy couture at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Lily-Rose Depp in Chanel at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Uma Thurman in Atelier Versace and Bulgari at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Marion Cotillard in Y/Project at the photocall for Ismael’s Ghost at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Elle Fanning in custom Vivienne Westwood at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Aymeline Valade in Pallas at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Susan Sarandon in Alberta Ferretti at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Naomie Harris in Gucci at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Jessica Chastain in Roksanda at the jury photocall at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Fan Bingbing in Elie Saab couture at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Director Maren Ade at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Charlotte Gainsbourg, center, in Saint Laurent at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Hailey Baldwin in custom Twinset at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Daria Strokous in Dior at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Emily Ratajkowski in custom Twinset and Bulgari at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Sara Sampaio in Zuhair Murad couture at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Eva Herzigova in custom Roberto Cavalli at the premiere of Ismael’s Ghosts opening the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Uma Thurman in Giuseppe Zanotti ready-to-wear and Tod’s at the premiere of Loveless at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Julianne Moore in Chanel couture at the premiere of Wonderstruck at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Amber Valletta in Mulberry at the premiere of Wonderstruck at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Elle Fanning in Temperley London at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Adriana Lima in Naeem Khan bridal at the premiere of Loveless at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Emily Ratajkowski in Brock Collection at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton at the premiere of Wonderstruck at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Thylane Blondeau in Michael Kors Collection at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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Sara Sampaio at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2017.

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