Monday, 14 June 2010

Wings of Desire.

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.]

16 comments:

  1. I always find a new thread and it leads from one thing to another, a new TV series based on a forgotten classic, batch of new books to read, articles, it is never ending and even without a full time job probably hard to find time!

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  2. yep, utterly overwhelmed and thoroughly inadequate! but daydreaming is important too, and you could listen to Nick cave in the background (love his voice).

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  3. I love Wings of Desire. It was crucial to me first falling in love with Berlin. Also, I am something of a Nick Cave obsessive (I can't believe we haven't talked about this before!)which I have to admit was a large impetus in me watching the film in the 80s. If you want any Nick chat/recommendations/general loving you know where to come.

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  4. Thanks ladies. I feel reassured now. I'm kind've feeling like I don't know where to start at the moment, blogs/books/films - all lead to other things I want to read and now I have the time to do it, it's as though this huge cultural chasm has opened for me to fall into. ARGHHHHH!

    Hehe. Natalie, yes, please teach me the ways of Nick Cave! Wonderful film, isn't it? I've only seen Alice and the Cities of his other films, loved that as well.

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  5. I would love to see this film! From the photos I thought it was an early 1930/40's film so I'm very intrigued. x

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  6. It ebbs, and it flows. And I'm such a dick I often don't want to read books other people are reading, listen to music other people are raving about. As for non-fiction books, forgetaboutit.

    What I'm interested to hear from you is: are you writing much?!

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  7. what a great way to describe the movie thanks for the pics as well...might just have to see it! thanks!

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  8. Oh I love this film, I love Nick Cave and I love Berlin. Think I need to watch it all over again.

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  9. Nikey - I do that too, sometimes. Totally silly, because if lots of people are reading/listening to it, it's obviously good.

    Writing, er, yeah. It was pointed out to me that that post makes me sound like a loafer. I am trying but it is hard!

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  10. I absolutely LOVE this film.

    You are still my number one blog crush!

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  11. And yes, I'm permanently overwhelmed by my own lack of knowledge. I specialised in Renaissance plays at uni, which meant that it was only in the last few years I've read Jean Rhys (wonderful) and Angela Carter (my favourite writer now). But if things had been different...

    Still, that's the beauty of subjective viewpoints, and meeting people, and blogs. You share your knowledge and it's so exciting, reading something and feeling, either that flush of recognition that someone else likes what you like (none of my friends like Wenders at all!) or that i-can't-wait-to-check this out vibe!

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  12. It's funny that it's called Wings of Desire because the original title is Der Himmel ueber Berlin (The Sky above Berlin), which I think would have fitted well, too.

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  13. It's such a lovely film.

    I'm the same, when I work I get so tired that I can't read or take in much else.
    But I feel more relaxed about it these days, I will never be able to read all books and see all films, but I'm trying to really enjoy the ones I do read/see. Happiness is more important than trying to know everything :)

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