Program of films by Wim Wenders

Wenders – the cosmopolite of moving pictures

While Herzog searched for the primal pictures in his films and, being a
manic visionary, appealed to the vicious undiscovered desert and forest areas,
Fassbinder americanized German every day life. Wenders literally embraced the
American culture.

Crucial times in the history of German film can be interpreted by its three
. Marlene Dietrich as the quintessence of Berlin portrayed the first
one in the 1930’s. The second Lola, Fassbinder’s, announced the dusk of German
new wave. And the third, Tykwer’s, ran in techno rhythm along with the
generation of new young filmmakers who had to make the face of the contemporary
German film look better and lead it to the next millennium. From the dynamic
handwriting of Tykwer’s Lola, we experience the economical wonder of
Berlin at the end of the 90’s, which is reflected in a forest of cranes that
transformed the German metropolis into a huge construction site. This is not
Wenders’ sky above Berlin, but Berlin under the feet. In a way this symbolism
corresponds with the attempts to reinforce the shaken grounds of German
production of the 90’s, even though they cannot be regarded as
revolutionary attempts, as was the case with German nouvelle vague in the
politicized atmosphere of the second half of the 60’s. Its most respectable
representatives (Fassbinder and Herzog) were already on the schedule of the
“most respectable squat in the state”. Wim Wenders, a cosmopolite with a German
accent, that sensitive and lucid cineaste, perhaps the leading esthetic in the
contemporary European film, at that point joined the squatters. While Herzog
searched for the primal pictures in his films and, being a manic visionary,
appealed to the vicious undiscovered desert and forest areas, Fassbinder
americanized German every day life, and observed it with eyes of an advocate of
expressionist esthetics and a devoted admirer of Sirk’s melodramas, accustomed
to the stench of sperm and beer. Wenders literally embraced the American culture
(Nicholas Ray, Patricia Highsmith, Sam Shephard, Ry Cooder, Sam Fuller).

Above all, Wenders needs heroes as abstract concepts and uses them for
annunciation of the author’s messages about anxiety, emotional emptiness,
vagrant’s wanderings without serenity and a satisfying outcome, contemporaneity
without spirituality, closeness and human love. Wenders’s old problem comes down
to the eternal dilemma of whether to be a storyteller or a creator of pictures.
And whenever he tired from his wanderings through the neon motels along the road
leading from Los Angeles to Paris (in Texas), and from the uncovering,
accompanied by his “American friends”, of violent and subconscious aspects and
ways of how to create movies in an American or European way (Nasilju je kraj),
he would enrich his celluloid itinerary with some new destination (Japan, Cuba,
Portugal). He led a conversation with Ozuo’s leading actor, Chishuo Ryuo, and
visited pachinko clubs (Tokyo-Ga). In his diary he illustrated the
happenings on the Japanese fashion scene, and was fascinated by the stylist
YohjiYamamoto (Noteboook on Cities and Clothes). He observed his
obsessed with pictures and in a creative crisis, who had no sound
and a sound engineer to help him pull out pictures from the dark using a
microphone (Lisbon Story). As an accidental tourist he researched hot
Cuban rhythms (Buena Vista Social Club). He wandered along Italian
gourmet routes (TV commercials for Barilla). He even attempted to make a film
that would take place in fifteen different countries, in which his heroes would
use all possible means of transportation know to modern technology – a project
which was never realized.

But, in the 90’s Wenders became too amazed by Wenders. He lost his way, wandered
away and went astray on his journeys. His artistic home burned down and he
stayed in the wrong hotel, the million dollar hotel. He forgot who he was and
where he had been. It is not surprising that the half-crazy Lynch, in his
Mulholland Drive
, created the character of a snobbish cineaste Adam Kesher
as Wenders’s clone. But, this program encourages us to set off on a search for
the author’s better past, when he created big and influential films. That was
the time when he offered his intimate contribution to the euphoria of the year
1968 (code: Polizeifilm). At that time his fascination with roads,
crossroads and traveling was limited to deserted urban panoramas which he
observed from the windows of his apartments (code: Silver City). A little
later big road films happened. Films about traveling, films about film itself,
films about the effects of American colonization of European subconsciousness (Kraljevi
). Aimless odysseys, encounters with unusual friends and landscapes
from the speeding trains (Summer in the City).

Maybe Wenders, the suspicious emotional, really believes that film ideals have
died together with the Hollywood veteran Nicholas Ray, as he tries to explain
this to us in his film Lightning Over Water. Maybe his faithful fans
would gladly like to simply forget the author’s last decade. But, his most
recent short film Twelve Miles to Trona about roads, drivers and
hallucinogenic cookies, part of the omnibus Ten Minutes Older and shown
last year in Cannes, proves to us that Wenders is not yet fully exhausted. Right
now he is working on his new project together with Sam Shepard. The future is
definitely not yet lost. (Dragan Rubeša)