By Mike Davidson
CANNES, France (Reuters) - The suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, England, temporarily drew attention at the Cannes Film Festival away from the movies and to the security threat that has bedeviled Europe.
The human cost of terrorism featured on the Cannes agenda on Friday, however, when acclaimed Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin presented "In The Fade", starring Diane Kruger as a woman whose husband and young son are killed in a bomb attack.
"Terrorism has become such a terrible, nearly daily thing that we live with, and what drew me to the part is that we never get to hear the story of the people that get left behind, we just hear numbers," Kruger told Reuters in an interview.
Born and raised in Germany, Kruger moved to the United States in her early teens and had her breakout role as Helen in the 2004 blockbuster "Troy".
"In The Fade" is not only Kruger's first film in German, it is also the toughest.
"It's probably the most emotional, hardest, physically challenging part I think I have ever played," she said.
"Just holding that grief for this entire movie, the subject matter, obviously, physically being in every scene of a film, carrying a film like this was a first for me as well."
It was at Cannes that the collaboration with Akin took root. When Kruger was on the festival jury in 2012, she sought him out to say she would like to work with him. When Akin proposed the lead role in "In The Fade", she could not believe it.
"I actually thought, when I got the script, he was kidding. I was like: 'How did you think about me for this?' It's definitely not the typical kind of part I usually get offered."
Akin's gritty realist style strips Kruger of any Hollywood glamour, and the grief and anger of her situation is etched onto her face.
For both actress and director, the film is timely and personal.
"Given the times we living in, I feel there this permission of being horrible to each other, of violence, of prejudice," said Kruger, adding that she had witnessed Islamophobic abuse - central to the film - on the New York subway.
As the son of Turkish immigrants, Akin said he was driven to make the movie as a response to growing right-wing violence in his country.
"These people could have killed me, I could be one of those targets " he said of neo-Nazis who have murdered several people for their skin color in Germany over recent years.
While anchored in Germany, the movie's themes of terrorism and racism, should have a universal resonance.
"I don't consider it just a German matter, It's a global matter," Akin said.
"I had the opportunity to take a local case (to) tell something about the situation in the world."
(Writing by Robin Pomeroy)