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Wings Of Desire (Criterion) (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]

Bruno Ganz , Solveig Dommartin , Wim Wenders    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Wings Of Desire (Criterion) (Bilingual) [Blu-ray] + Paris, Texas (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Description

Special Features

This Special Edition illustrates how time to reflect can create better DVD extras. Looking back 16 years after his film debuted in 1987, director Wim Wenders examines it with new eyes. The movie--largely unscripted, we learn--is a love letter to Berlin, a town in flux (it was shot before "the Wall" fell). Wender's dry, insightful commentary takes us through the genesis of the film and the importance of the real-world settings, many of which no longer exist. Peter Falk is also on the commentary track and, like his presence in the film, offers a punch of earnest emotion and humor. Much of the 45-minute featurette repeats Wenders's commentary points. Many of the key talents are interviewed and director Brad Silverberg takes on a role as the film's fan (he later made the Americanization, City of Angels). There's some 20 minutes of deleted scenes (polished and unpolished) including material that was reshot for the sequel. The packed disc includes an offbeat trailer or two along with a gorgeous transfer of the remarkable film. --Doug Thomas

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't see you but I know you're there... Oct. 14 2003
By tvc215
Where to begin... The film defies description. I could attempt a synopsis but I won't. Such an attempt would be futile and diminish this breathtaking adventure. I could try to touch on some of the themes; angels over the city of Berlin, the importance of storytellers, extra people, two halves, the deepest love, a fractured city and our fractured world, Berlin itself and The Wall, the Nazi past, longing, wholeness in solitude, fate, a greater power, a search for the past, childhood innocence, the presence of angels around us, love and the future, but I am sure that you will see many other themes that I have not mentioned.
Some facts about this film...It was begun as Wim Wender's tribute to Berlin. Filmed in 1987 before the fall of The Wall, it was almost entirely unscripted when production began, so the film evolved as it was being created. It is really interesting to see Berlin just before the fall of The Wall. The cinematography is magnificent. Alternating between BW and color, it takes on a dreamlike quality the is no less than stunning. Much dialog in the film is voice-over, adding to the other worldliness of it.
Additionally. the packaging is really worthwhile with neat extras. The menu page is even beautiful.
Now a disclaimer. Wings of Desire is not a Hollywood blockbuster that is going to hit you over the head with blatant scripting, plot progression and tidy resolutions. (And I am not blasting Hollywood.) It is a German film, in German, French and English, that is over two hours long. The stellar reviews of this film may incite you to expect too much. This film is a poem - sit back relax, let it settle into you and don't try to figure it out.
I can give this no less than 5 stars, because it is truly the closest that I have seen to cinema fully realized.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, peaceful and thought-provoking poetry April 3 2012
By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER
The bulk of the film is in German, although some dialogue is in English. There are also occasional moments in French and Turkish.

Although this review contains spoilers, there's not really much to spoil. Each viewer will get something different from the film. The events are merely a loose framework used to provoke thought.

Wings of Desire is not an easy film to watch. It requires a lot of patience and you'll get very little from it if you aren't prepared to think. It's one of those stories that shows you events or allows you to hear thoughts, and then you make of it what you will. There isn't a conventional plot at all. If you watched The Tree of Life and had problems with its abstract narrative, Wings of Desire will test you even more. It's almost like a poem.

The story involves two immortal angels, Cassiel (Sander) and Damiel (Ganz), who have existed for millennia. The setting is Berlin, but the angels knew the city before humans ever existed. They remember how the river found its bed and how life as we know it began. They are serious and rarely show any emotion. Perhaps they have seen everything and it no longer affects them, or is their dispassionate outlook part of their very nature?

Their job is to observe humans and we see through their eyes in black and white. They can hear the thoughts of everyone they pass. Occasionally, when someone is sad or contemplating a desperate act, the angels intervene by touching the shoulder of the person in trouble. This gives that person a sense of hope and well being, but there's no guarantee the person will act on it. Children are able to see angels. Perhaps their innocence and lack of cynicism allows them to see what adults cannot?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paradise in B&W Aug. 28 2003
If you have only seen the Hollywood adaptation of this, "City of Angels," you will have little idea of the magic in Wim Wenders's original. Almost by happenstance he created one of the truly great German films of the late 20th century. It is a whimsical romance, a philosophical dialogue, and a portrait of a great city -- Berlin in the years of the Wall. Peter Falk and Nick Cave put in appearances, adding their unique humor and music respectively, but the film belongs to the enchanting circus aerialist Solveig Dommartin, Bruno Ganz as the angel who watches over, then courts her, and the dozens of ordinary Berliners that Wenders observed in the course of the shooting.
The special features on this DVD really are special. Aside from the audio commentary track, there's an insightful documentary that provides crucial information about the chaotic yet fruitful creative process that Wenders used. It's amazing that the final product displays so much integrity. (This sense of unity may be due largely to the inspired choice of collaborators, which included the 80-year-old cinematographer who shot "Beauty and the Beast" for Cocteau years ago. The B&W footage is incredibly subtle and fluid.)
Highly recommended. Don't be put off by the first reel, which may seem stagy or overly verbal. Let the film, and the city, seduce you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars groovy Germanic fare July 7 2003
I first watched "Wings of Desire" four years ago, while taking a German cinema class in college. Most of the films we watched were thoroughly depressing ("The Marriage of Maria Braun", sorry, all you Fassbinder fans) or outright demented ("The Tin Drum". 'nuff said). Then we watched "Wings...". Have you ever had an experience where something you watch changes you, somehow? Sure, some of the speeches are a bit long-winded, and sometimes you're not quite sure why the characters do what they do (or, you're not sure what they're doing, period), but the overall tone of this movie is absolutely gorgeous in its celebration of the human experience. Humans are portrayed as messy and complex, from the down-and-out guy on the train to the woman about to give birth to the young prostitute on the corner...but hey, we ARE messy and complex. Deal with it. The angels, despite their ability to bring quiet comfort to those they interact with, are invisible to all but children who, with their predilection for magical thinking, not only see them but accept them without question. I love the sense of longing Bruno Ganz (Damiel) brings to the screen--he simply wants to enjoy all the things we take for granted, even if it's eating an apple or having newsprint on his fingers after reading the paper. Never before have I seen a movie that made me appreciate the small things that being human entails, and I've not seen anything since that has spurred me on to such personal fits of philosophy. Shame on Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage for getting involved with the shabby Hollywood remake! (Plus, "Wings..." has the absolutely brilliant Peter Falk in it. How groovy can one movie get? Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not what I expected
it is one of those that sometimes I treasure and I will see this again but it was sent right away and in perfect condition. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jacque
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good.
This is a classic Wim Wenders film. A meditative, bitter-sweet film shot in gorgeous black and white, that moves along at an "easy" pace. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2011 by nobody
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's fall in love
Why shouldn't we fall in love?
Our hearts are made of it
Let's take a chance, why be afraid of it? Read more
Published on July 23 2010 by bernie
What an absolutely haunting delight. With its introspective pacing, which some may find slower than their cinematic taste allows, the film takes its own sweet time setting things... Read more
Published on May 28 2004 by Shashank Tripathi
3.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous but dull
Yes, I loved this film when I saw it in the theatre. But I have to admit, watching the DVD, that it is mostly dull, slow-moving, and pretentious. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by bruther
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate art film
One of the most touching films created by Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire follows two angels, one of whom decides that his love of a woman is worth more than his heavenly life... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sky Over Berlin.
It's ironic that so soon after Wenders shot this film in Berlin (a film about seperation and the search for unity), the wall would come tumbling down. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004 by R Jess
5.0 out of 5 stars Haiku
If my soul could speak
This film is what it would say
Wings brush past my face
Published on Jan. 6 2004 by Stephana A Bean/William A Bean
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Film
This movie is my all time favorite. A great story with beautiful filming. I have never been disappointed by any of Wim Wenders films. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by Mr. Books
4.0 out of 5 stars A movie for reflection and meditation... with one DVD flaw
Probably Wim Wenders' most beloved film, "Wings of Desire" is one of those movies that works on a emotional -- rather than intellectual -- level. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2003 by tokyo111
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