Sunday, November 14, 2010

758. Der Himmel uber Berlin/Wings of Desire (1987)

Running Time: 127 minutes
Directed By: Wim Wenders
Written By: Peter Handke, Wim Wenders
Main Cast: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Peter Falk, Curt Bois


"Wings of Desire" proves my theory: When you have high hopes for a movie and look forward to a film with great excitement, you're likely to be disappointed. I have wanted to see "Wings of Desire" for literally years, but have just never gotten around to it...until today. I didn't hate it, but I was certainly a bit disappointed in the end.

Damiel (Ganz) is an angel, hovering above the city of Berlin with his angel pals, notably Cassiel (Sander). The film's dialogue is so elegant and so innocent, as the movie asks the questions usually reserved for a child, like "Why am I me and not you?" and "Why am I here and not there?" The angels can't interject themselves into the lives of humans and can only lend a glimmer of hope when things look dark. Therefore they are forced to sit idly by, crying as people take their own lives and fatal accidents happen. Damiel falls in love with trapeze artist Marion (Dommartin), who herself, resembles an angel as she flies underneath the big top on her trapeze, dazzling the eyes of the watchers below. Especially the eyes of Damiel, who longs to hold her in his arms and feel the nape of her neck and her ears. Not only does he want to experience that, but also to experience the taste of an apple and a cup of coffee and experience what it feels like to be cold and rub your hands together vigorously to warm them. When Damiel encounters actor Peter Falk (playing himself), he is spotted...or sensed rather by Falk, who states: "I can't see you, but I know you're here." Falk continues to tell Damiel about the joys of human life and raise Damiel's desires to the point of no return.

This is probably one of (if not THE) most beautiful movies I have ever seen, in every sense of the word. The dialogue is even beautiful, as everyone seems to talk in poems and has deep thoughts about almost everything that they encounter. The cinematography is also quite breathtaking and if ever there was a movie to make you appreciate black and white photography, then this is the one. I recall a scene where we're peering at the skyline of Berlin, in glorious black & white. It was breathtaking. I noticed that the clouds looked so defined, as if they weren't even real clouds, but just smudges of black pencil markings...but they were real all right. It was then that the color snapped on and neon lights and natural color ruined the beauty of the shot. This is probably one of the most beautifully shot films I've seen, since Fellini week, back in September. The acting was fine too, and I especially enjoyed Peter Falk playing himself, a possible nod from Wenders, as he tells us that everything we're seeing is real, even the characters.

I mentioned above that the dialogue was like a poem and in fact, the entire movie was like one long poem put to action. That was one of the things I didn't like about "Wings of Desire", as it seemed way too poetic and deep. As we heard the characters thoughts, they almost all seemed to be thinking about very deep and meaningful things. It just didn't seem real. How often does one think so deeply and so poetic, as the characters in this film? There were so many scenes that dragged on and on, as the characters and their thoughts seemed to be talking what amounted to nothing at all, in what seemed like forever.

RATING: 5.5/10 Not a terrible rating, but not the rating that I've had pegged for it, for so long.


November 14, 2010 6:52pm

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes... As you say, a beautiful film..
    Why then did I find watching it more of a duty than enjoyable?
    I feel bad about admitting that.. this is decidedly 'my sort of film'.. I shuld have loved it. Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood that day.


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