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Helmut Dietl, 1944-2015

Helmut Dietl, 1944-2015

The German film and TV industries were mourning on Monday the death of director, writer and producer Helmut Dietl from lung cancer. He was 70.

Once described as “the German answer to Woody Allen”, Dietl was known to international audiences largely for his send-up of the fake Hitler diaries saga in the 1992 film Schtonk!, which was subsequently nominated for a best foreign language film Academy Award.

Bavarian-born Dietl had already made a name for himself before Schtonk! on German TV with critically praised audience favourites such as Münchner Geschichten (1974/5), Der Ganz Normale Wahnsinn (1979/80), Monaco Franze and the six-part series Kir Royal, a biting satire on Munich high society and tabloid journalism.

According to the late TV commissioning editor Jörn Klamroth of Cologne’s Wdr, the inspiration for Kir Royal came to Dietl in 1984 when he and the director saw a photo in a cafe showing Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) sitting together with the conservative Bavarian politician

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