Informit article: Downfall

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Abstract:

Notes towards a different reading of George Pell

The death of Bruno Ganz in February 2019 brought to mind a scene from his memorable performance in Downfall in which he portrayed Hitler’s trembling hands, carefully hidden behind his back as he greeted members of the Hitler Youth. This depiction came to mind when media cameras caught something of George Pell’s frailty as he was being escorted to and from his recent trial. A semblance of invulnerability had dropped. Something like a prop, that had worked so well up to that point to convey his power to others and to himself, suddenly fell away and appeared to be shakeable. Before putting forward some exploratory thoughts about possible alter native ways to read Pell’s fall, it should be noted that the link to Hitler here is a representational one only. It is not to suggest any comparability in the crimes or character of these figures.

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