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Last farewell for Wicki

The family and friends of the Swiss actor and film director, Bernhard Wicki, bid a last farewell to him today, when he's buried in the German city of Munich.

This content was published on January 13, 2000 - 09:54

The family and friends of the Swiss actor and film director, Bernhard Wicki, bid a last farewell to him today, when he's buried in the German city of Munich.

Wicki, who died last week aged 80, had moved from Zurich to Munich after the death of his first wife, the actress Agnes Fink, in 1994. Considered one of the leading figures of post-war German-language cinema, he later became internationally acclaimed both in front of and behind the camera.

"Wicki was a very important figure in the cultural life not only of Switzerland," said David Streiff, director of the Swiss office for culture. "He mainly worked in Germany and although he was half Austrian we still consider him as one of ours, and in this sense it is also a big loss for Switzerland."

Wicki began his cinema career in 1950, after some years as an actor in the theatre. By the 1960s he was acting under the direction of, among others, Antonioni, Wajda, Wenders, Fassbinder and Tavernier.

He directed the German sequences of The Longest Day (1962), but as a director, many believe his greatest achievement to have been The Bridge (Die Brücke), an anti-war film made in 1959.

"His strength," says Streiff, "was that he was dealing directly and with great emphasis on questions of humanity in general. It's probably not by chance that he directed one of the greatest anti-war films."

Among those who paid tribute to Wicki was Fritz Wepper, who played the part of an 18-year-old in The Bridge. "He became a fatherly friend," said Wepper, "he was a rather special person, director and actor."

In the 1970s Wicki turned his talents to television drama. He leaves a widow, his second wife, Elisabeth Endriss.

By Richard Dawson

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