“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
Never has that quote been so accurate than in the case of Diane Kruger and her spectacular portrayal of Katja in her new film directed by Fatih Akin, In The Fade, ( for which she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival last May). I felt the power and ache of Diane’s performance down to my bones—it both mesmerised and haunted me for days after walking out of the theatre.
Katja’s journey begins as a spirited yet calm and loving mother who is walking with her young son. The love and the special bond they share is palpable to us, the audience. We rejoice in it and start to reminisce our own version of that maternal love. At that very instant, he is nearly hit by a car and she quickly turns to rage, foreshadowing the emotional journey of a woman so desperately seeking justice and pursuing revenge to honour her loved ones. For me, that particular scene was an early indication of her range and ability to transport her audience-- in matter of split seconds she made us feel a part of her story. A feat so seemingly effortless and nuanced, yet often difficult to master, Diane’s portrayal of Katja is a story of rawness, vulnerability, strength and of perseverance. It challenges us with a very important question- How far will we go for love?
The film casts a mirror on our world, depicting the ugly, horrific and alienating effects of radical terrorism, of fear of differences, and of being driven by vengeance. The story in the film is one of resilience. Her raw and chilling performance leaves us in complete and utter awe. I was captivated by her character and by her as an actress, essentially one and the same for the duration of the film. It is an awakening for the audience, for our world, and it is a discovering of Diane-- Diane the phenomenal actor, and Diane the person.
Diane and I first met on the set of a Vogue photo shoot in 2010 while shooting a November portfolio for the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund. Not only was I nervous to be shot for American Vogue, just one year into launching my brand, but I was also anxious about the CVFF competition itself. Diane, however, had such a sense of calm amid a chaotic and overwhelming set, and she, through her spirit and being, immediately helped me feel at ease.
From that moment on, our friendship has grown into one based on love, trust and mutual respect. In both of our industries- fashion and film- where relationships are often dictated by rising barometers, her loyalty is one that I not only cherish but also find extremely rare. I’ve been lucky enough to call Diane a dear friend for nearly 8 years now.
For all of this, for her ability to remain graceful under pressure despite the challenges and the grit, for her resolute pursuit of her ideals, for her loyalty, for her bravery, and for her dignity, Diane is our Monday Muse.
Independent and foreign films are so often pushed aside in a sea of Hollywood headliners, and taking part in this true art form takes courage and soul. Now more than ever, recognising and celebrating art of this kind, with strength from the unexpected, is of the upmost importance. We live in a conflicting, confusing, and often dark world, as so hauntingly depicted in In the Fade. While so many of us stand on the right side of history, resisting with love, trying to break down boundaries, there are others on the opposite side, rebuilding the very walls of hate we crush down. During this time, it becomes even more necessary that we celebrate creative forces around the world, and Diane is one to honour. From one artist on behalf of another, may this serve as our plea, for not only should Diane be nominated for the Academy Award, but may she also win.