Outtakes Columns

Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders  

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WHO is he?

German film director, screenwriter and producer, photographer and author who has made close to 40 feature films and over 15 short films since the late sixties. Wenders has directed both documentary and fictional films, in addition to several music videos. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The State of Things in 1982 and the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival for Paris, Texas in 1984.

WHAT are his films about?

Themes

Wenders’ films have rarely been political, with his characters representing any arbitrary modern human being. These characters are often in the quest of piecing together a personal past, living without definite plans for the future. The reconstruction of a past in order to guide future action is a major theme in Wenders’ cinema, as is the idea of life as an eternal journey with no destination or source. Cinema itself is central to these films, either as a plot element or an aesthetic presence, and is always cherished greatly.

Style

Like French director Jean-Pierre Melville, Wenders was fascinated by the abstract idea of America, especially the genre cinema of Hollywood and the country’s awe-inspiring landscape, both of which are at the heart of his own movies. Wenders’ films work with popular genres such as the Road Movie, but distil them into more personal works. They are geographically well-attuned, beautifully shot with a penchant for reflective surfaces, primary colours and epic vistas, scored with jazz or country music, leisurely paced with a lot of narrative breathing space.

WHY is he of interest?

A key part of the New German Cinema movement, Wim Wenders helped put the national cinema on the international map after its regrettable post-war hiatus. One of the few directors known both for his documentary and fictional films, Wenders has produced a wide-ranging body of work that is as formally exciting as it is emotionally resonant.

WHERE to discover him?

Wings Of Desire (1987) tells the story of two angels who come down to earth and observe life on the planet — listening to people’s intimate thoughts, healing them and living amidst them — until one of them wants to become human himself. Stunningly filmed, this dream-like masterwork is a veritable paean to humanity, emulating in its own way the life-affirming quality of the work of Wenders’ mentors: Andrei Tarkovsky, François Truffaut and Yasujiro Ozu.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:57:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/outtakes-wim-wenders/article6578232.ece

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