I watched and really enjoyed Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire last week. The film is about two kindly-faced angels who live in the sky above Berlin and come down to comfort those in need; a lonely circus performer, a man who has just been in a serious accident, somebody getting ready to commit suicide. The dialogue is poetic; written by Peter Handke, it is based on the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.
The cinematography is just stunning. It was shot by Henri Alekan, who apparently used a silk stocking that had belonged to his grandmother as a filter for the monochromatic sequences. Another fact: Solveig Dommartin, who played the rope performance artist, learnt how to do all the sequences herself in eight weeks, with no net.
The film is set just before the fall of the Berlin wall. I spent a lot of time in Germany at that time; our family used to get in the car, put a tent on top and drive there, touring around the Moselle and Rhine valleys, going to wine festivals and poking around small German towns. So the aesthetic of 1980s Germany is really familiar to me, especially the fashion. I was right there with my checked trousers, baggy snow-washed denim jacket, bouffant side-swept hair and giant walkman headphones!
Secret Cinema showed Wings of Desire recently, complete with recreated Berlin and trapeze artists. Pictures here, I'm sad I missed it.
[A great thing about not working at the moment is the utter freedom to follow any whim as soon as it hits; watch this film, pick up that book. But it has also made me realise how much I haven't read, seen or listened to. In Wings of Desire, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds do a show. I've never really listened to them. I've never read Rilke, I've not seen most of Wenders' other films... Don't you just sometimes feel overwhelmed by the huge voids in your own cultural knowledge? I used to find it impossible to even pick up a book when I was working, often. I was just too tired. Personal pledge to self: make the most of my time, read more, watch more, limit time spent drifting in daydreams: my personal bad habit!]
[Unsure who the pictures belong to! But thank you, whoever you are.]