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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Germans flock to see Hitler film
Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as Hitler - copyright Constantin Films
Bruno Ganz' portrayal of Adolf Hitler has been praised
More than 100,000 German filmgoers flocked to see a controversial big-budget movie about Adolf Hitler on its opening night on Thursday.

The Downfall, shown on 400 screens, stars Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as the Nazi leader and sparked debate about portraying Hitler with a human side.

Ex-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has hailed it as a way for young people to be reminded of the horror of Hitler.

The 9m film's makers said they were happy young and old had gone to watch.

Juliane Kohler and Bruno Ganz - copyright Constantin Films
Juliane Koehler plays Hitler's wife Eva Braun
Critics were divided over the film, which details the end of the Third Reich leading up to Hitler's suicide in his bunker on 30 April 1945.

German historian Hans Mommsen said: "Reducing history to stories about people is not suitable for gaining an understanding of the greater historical process."

But British historian and Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw said: "Of all the portrayals of Hitler, this is the first which I found convincing."

The film will be shown throughout continental Europe and in Japan. Producers are also hoping to distribute it in North America and Britain.

'Human' Hitler disturbs Germans
16 Sep 04  |  Europe
German film breaks Hitler taboo
24 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Emerging from the Nazi shadow?
19 Jul 04  |  Europe
Japan film scraps Hitler promotion
04 Feb 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Director defends Hitler portrayal
16 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Country profile: Germany
20 Jul 04  |  Country profiles

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