A final remembrance of The Lives of Others star Ulrich Muhe, whose death last July was, for me, the saddest and most unexpected of the year. Coming in the wake of having given one of the most moving performances of the 21st Century and experiencing the greatest international success of his career and then bam…over.

I felt a huge kinship with Muhe himself, partly due to interviewing him at the Toronto Film Festival (also chatting at a couple of festival parties) in September ’06, partly because I knew that his own disturbing history with the Stasi (they watched him very closely in the ’80s) was tied up in the role, and partly because I’ve got a German ancestry from my mom’s side of the family.