Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987) [8]

Wings of Desire is, more than anything else, a love letter to the city of Berlin. For a city that has had much made of it through cinema (Berlin: Symphony of a City, Berlin Alexanderplatz), Wenders still manages to find unique and visually arresting images of Berlin on the verge of reunification. There really is no plot to speak of as the film follows the path of two angels as they move about the people and the city. It is an ideal premise to allow a meditation on the city and its inhabitants, as the is able to weave in and out of people's minds and thoughts. It creates a Berlin as these angels see it, but it is also able to create an incredibly poetic, lyrical film. The black and white cinematography is terrific, and the looming crane shots, obviously from the angel's point of view create a very fluid, meandering pace to the film. Eventually, one of the angels (played by Bruno Ganz) falls in love with a trapeze artist and yearns to become human. As the film progresses into the angel's transformation, it looses a little bit of its luster. Essentially, when story and plot progression become too up front in the film, it looses the poetic qualities that make the film what it is. Add to that the unexplainable Peter Falk scenes and Wings of Desire falls a bit out of rhythm. Yet despite any issues the latter part of the film raise, it never fully takes the viewer completely out of the film. It's too good of a film overall not to appreciate what Wenders wanted to say about Berlin.

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