Saturday, June 9, 2007

Wings of Desire (1987)

Directed by Wim Wenders. Starring Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartein, and Otto Sander.

Here's another film we shouldn't hold responsible for what it spawned (in this case, the jaw-dropping Cage/Ryan vehicle CITY OF ANGELS). Wenders' poetic film has been criticized by people I know as being insubstantial, but just as there's a place in music for symphonies and piano preludes alike, so too great films come in every stripe. WINGS OF DESIRE tells the story of angels who inhabit the skies over Berlin, able to hear the thoughts of people and to transcend time, but incapable of experiencing life. Much like Wenders' other masterpiece PARIS, TEXAS, which I almost chose instead of this, the film focuses on a character who regards life impassively while those around him go about their business. Eventually, one of the angels decides to "take the plunge", trading in his wings and immortality for the chance to live and die as a human. The film isn't really about its story though (that was the mistake the remake made), but rather about the choice between standing outside of life and seeing everything, or experiencing life despite its inherent limitations.

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