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Five Minutes of Heaven goes mano a mano with Northern Ireland conflict (1)

Even if you’ve never heard the name Oliver Hirschbiegel, there’s a strong chance you’ve seen his work. The German filmmaker directed Downfall, the superb 2004 drama about the Third Reich's final days. Last year, a clip of Bruno Ganz’s Hitler chewing out his underlings became a YouTube hit when an online prankster rewrote the subtitles so the scene depicted then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton raging against her campaign staff. Now you can find dozens of remixes that show Adolf hating on, say, the Avatar trailer.

Hirschbiegel can’t claim credit or blame for the pop appropriation of Downfall, but the original scene's dramatic power no doubt supports its viral following. Downfall’s depiction of the besieged Nazis combined epic battle scenes with more soft-spoken moments that illuminated Hitler’s historical legacy, such as Frau Goebbels quietly killing her own children rather than have them see an Allied victory. Hirschbiegel’s latest film, Five Minutes of Heaven, treats a confrontation between two men as another kind of microcosm for a historic event: the violence in Northern Ireland.

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(Photo Courtesy Reconciliation Limited 2009/An IFC Films release)




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