Wim Wenders's most purely romantic film is like poetry on celluloid, a celebration of the transient and fragile moments of being human: the warmth of a cup of coffee on a cold day, the embrace of a friend, the touch of a lover, the rapture of love. Opening with an angel's-eye view of Berlin in silvery black and white (delicately captured by the great cinematographer Henri Alekan, who photographed Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast 40 years earlier), it transforms into a gauzy color world when Damiel "crosses over" by sheer will. Peter Falk plays himself as a fallen angel with a special sensitivity for celestial visitors ("I can't see you, but I know you're there," he proclaims), and Otto Sander, whose smiling eyes brighten a face etched by eons of waiting and watching, is Damiel's partner. Wenders made a sequel in 1993, Faraway, So Close, and Hollywood remade the film as City of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. --Sean Axmaker
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. (I can say this about only a handful of films.) The photography, editing, script - or lack of it, casting, understated performance, composition all seem to work together with a magical synergy, not to mention the fact that it is absolutely beautiful to watch.
Buy, rent, or borrow this film. If you read the reviews and have an inkling that it is for you, then it probably is. Wings of Desire will stay with you for a long time to come.
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