28 Feb

A one-off this week at Cinematheque- ‘Wenders Classics’ which brings us two of Wim Winders’ celebrated films.

The American Friend (1977) arose because of Wenders’ desire to film a Patricia Highsmith novel. Since the rights to any of the novels were unavailable, Highsmith gave Wenders the unpublished script for ‘Ripley’s Game’, leading Wenders’ interest in international filmmaking to be born with an array of actors and locations being used.
Tom Ripley (Dennis Hopper), an American based in Germany, earns money by selling forged art works at auctions. One evening he meets Jonathan Zimmermann (Bruno Ganz) a reputable art dealer who dislikes Ripley, and Raoul Minot (Gerard Blain) a gangster who wants Ripley to assassinate a rival. With Zimmermann’s dismissal of him still in his mind, and knowing that Zimmermann is gravely ill, Ripley suggests that Minot con Zimmermann into committing the crime. As the illegal activities mount around them, Ripley and Zimmermann find themselves becoming friends, but with deadly consequences.

Wings of Desire (1987) is a beautiful film. It follows two angels as they fly around West Berlin, listing in to people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Presented is the isolation of people in a crowded city, separated mentally and physically from their fellow countrymen across the wall. When one of the angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz), meets trapeze artist Marion he is so enthralled in her desire that he renounces his immortality and becomes human so that he may be with her. Here, the film goes from the black and white images of Berlin thus experienced, to the vibrant colour of human existence.
Accompanying the film is a soundtrack of popular songs including Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, as well as the appearance of American actor Peter Falk who was also once an angel but had decided to come to earth to make films about the Nazi regime.


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