Obituary for actor Donald Sutherland | EUROtoday

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Die Vorstellung schmerzt, seine Stimme nicht mehr zu hören, nicht in einem neuen, nächsten Film – diese Stimme, die in dunkle Tiefen tauchen und sich daraus zu schneidender Schärfe erheben konnte, die knarrte und schmeichelte, flehte und verdammte, die Stimme eines Richters, eines Liebhabers, eines Spions, eines Verrückten: eine der Stimmen, das ist sicher, die vom Kino im kollektiven Gedächtnis bleiben werden.

Zuletzt hörte man sie in den vier Episoden der „Tribute von Panem“, wo er den Diktator Snow spielte, den der Rausch der Macht so ausgezehrt hat, dass er ihr jede menschliche Regung opfert; mit weißem Haar und weißem Bart war er die Karikatur des regierenden Philosophen, von dem Staatstheorie seit Plato geträumt hat. Und dann gab es noch den Rentner John in „Das Leuchten der Erinnerung“, der mit Helen Mirren im Wohnmobil aus Boston aufbricht, um Hemingways Wohnhaus in Florida zu besichtigen, obwohl er sich nicht einmal an die Namen seiner eigenen Kinder erinnert. Das ist jetzt sieben Jahre her, aber man sieht ihn noch immer am Steuer des Wagens sitzen, verloren in Amerika und einem Leben, das ihm ganz langsam durch die Finger rinnt.

Sein Ausdruck war nicht Exzess, sondern Essenz

Es gibt Schauspieler, die sich in ihren Rollen bis zur Unkenntlichkeit verwandeln und mit ihrem Körper die unglaublichsten Dinge anstellen. Donald Sutherland gehörte nicht dazu. Sein Ausdruck war nicht Exzess, sondern Essenz. Er besaß, was nur die Größten vor der Kamera haben: die Aura realer Gegenwart. Alan Pakulas Film „Klute“ von 1971 beispielsweise ist ganz um diese Aura herum gebaut. Sutherland spielt einen Detektiv, der das Verschwinden eines Geschäftsmanns aufklären soll. Bei seinen Recherchen gerät er an eine Luxusprostituierte, die sich weigert, mit ihm zusammenzuarbeiten, bis er ihr klarmacht, dass sie selbst im Visier eines Mörders ist. Er beschützt sie, und sie verliebt sich in ihn.

Sutherland und Jane Fonda, die Darstellerin des Callgirls, wurden bei den Dreharbeiten ein Paar, aber das muss man nicht wissen, um zu begreifen, dass das, was zwischen den beiden passiert, mehr als Mimik und Verstellung ist. Das Versprechen des Kinos, dass wir in ihm dem Leben – und dem Tod – bei der Arbeit zusehen können, wird in dieser Geschichte eingelöst, bis zu dem Moment, da ihre Figuren das Bild durch eine Seitentür verlassen und der Abspann läuft.

Die Liebe eines Detektivs: Sutherland in „Klute“, 1971
The love of a detective: Sutherland in “Klute”, 1971Picture Alliance

When “Klute” was made, Donald Sutherland was in his mid-thirties; the year before, he had played his first leading role in Robert Altman's Vietnam War farce “MASH.” The career of the entrepreneur's son from the western Canadian port city of Saint John was not a lightning-fast start, but a laborious climb that led via theater studies in London and Scotland and appearances in television series to a role as a sidekick alongside half a dozen Hollywood stars in the military comedy “The Dirty Dozen.” For this part, Sutherland developed the grin that became his trademark – a bared teeth that changed seamlessly from comfortable to threatening. It rarely seems happy. Most of the time it means danger.

Sutherland remained loyal to war films for a while, but in The Eagle Has Landed he was second in the opening credits behind Michael Caine, and in The Needle he is the center of the story. As a Nazi agent in England, he discovers the secret of the impending Allied invasion. When he is discovered, he stabs his way through with a switchblade until he has to take refuge with a farmer couple on a coastal island. And again, it is not clear how he manages to combine the expression range of the killer with that of the lover. All we see is that it happens. And that the killer has the upper hand in the end.

A married couple in Venice: Scene from “When the Gondolas Wear Mourning”, 1973
A married couple in Venice: Scene from “When the Gondolas Wear Mourning”, 1973Allstar

Between “Klute” and “The Needle”, Sutherland made two movies that may be sufficient to immortalise his title. One is, in fact, Nicolas Roeg's “Don't Look Now”. The different is basically forgotten. It is Fellini's “Casanova”. The story of the intercourse image who chases after his personal legend. Of Don Juan, for whom each man's dream turns into a nightmare. Sutherland performs him, not like Marcello Mastroianni would have accomplished, not because the director's alter ego, however as a parody of his personal career, the star: Hollywood in rococo gown. His pas de deux with the porcelain doll on the finish is without doubt one of the hallowed treasures of movie historical past: as a result of he himself is the doll on the strings of fame.

Until he was very previous, Sutherland informed anybody who wished to know that the intercourse scene with Julie Christie in “Don't Look Now” was not actual however staged. The proven fact that he was requested about it repeatedly has to do with the truth of the scene. To movie it, Roeg locked himself and his actors in a resort room – simply as his movie locks us with them within the alleys and canals of Venice. And simply as he seems to be on the couple's intimacy from the tip, after they put their garments again on, the entire movie performs intricately with the merging of then and now. Donald Sutherland cherished “Don't Look Now” a lot that he gave one in all his youngsters the primary title Roeg.

Late years: Donald Sutherland in a photo from 2019
Late years: Donald Sutherland in a photograph from 2019Picture Alliance

Because of his dedication to the Vietnam War, Sutherland was quickly on an inventory of the American secret service. This didn’t make him any associates in Hollywood, so he caught to impartial administrators. In a French movie he performed the painter Paul Gauguin, in a South African movie a trainer in the course of the rebellion in Soweto. But the movie business usually introduced him again, and one actually wonders who else might have performed the medical officer in Philip Kaufman's “Body Snatchers” remake and the pyromaniac in “Backdraft” who, when requested by Robert De Niro what he would do with the entire world, solutions: “Burn it all.” The judges, gangsters, psychopaths and noble Romans that he performed in his later years all the time reminded viewers that performing was additionally a bread and butter job – and that for him it was far more than a method of incomes cash.

And repeatedly that voice. In Oliver Stone's “JFK” it belongs to a person referred to as X, who spends ten minutes explaining why John F. Kennedy needed to die in Dallas – the CIA, the FBI, the generals, the Cubans, business, all of them had a hand in it. It's a pure conspiracy story, however so long as the voice speaks, you imagine every little thing it says. Now it has fallen silent. We are left with its echo. Donald Sutherland died in Miami on Thursday. He was ninety-two years previous.

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/kino/nachruf-auf-den-schauspieler-donald-sutherland-19805623.html