Wenders

501. Paris, Texas

Sorry I’ve been slow to update lately! It’s mostly because I’ve been working on my other never-ending side project. Take a look at QueerPortraits.com if you’re interested.

The American West has rarely been as beautifully captured as it is in Wim Wenders’ PARIS, TEXAS. The German director somehow knows exactly how to use the vast, empty landscape of an American desert, along with the vast, empty landscape of an American city, to tell the story of crossing those expanses and filling in that emptiness. The film opens on Harry Dean Stanton wandering the desert, sunburnt, dehydrated, and mute. Slowly it’s revealed that he has a brother, and a son, and somewhere, a wife, and slowly he begins to put those pieces of his life back together. Everything about the film’s pacing is gradual, without feeling stagnant. If there are long silent stretches, they’re generally filled in with excellent acting (no surprise, because Harry Dean Stanton is wonderful always) and striking cinematography. And the themes of family and human connection at the heart of the film are carefully explored. I really enjoyed that the entire thing is pure eye candy to look at, but I think my favorite aspect is the humanity and respect given to each character by Wenders and screenwriter Sam Shepard. I’m a sucker for any story that has a conflict without villains.

paristexas

490. Wings Of Desire

By sheer coincidence, this film was recommended to me right around the same time that Silver Screen Society chose it for their own month long tribute. So if you want to see more WINGS OF DESIRE inspired art, might I recommend heading over here.

Wim Wenders’ poetic WINGS OF DESIRE is a sweepingly romantic film. In a world where angels walk silently among us, bearing witness to our lives, one angel falls in love with a trapeze artist and decides he wants to be a part of the physical world.  Yet this central relationship, which constitutes the only real storyline, is just a single thread in the film’s fabric. The rest comprises beautiful black and white aerial shots of Berlin and intimate fragments of people’s thoughts. It’s about the city as a whole, or maybe life as a whole, so much more than any individual characters. And although angels usually aren’t my thing, here they seem to be more of a symbolic device than a spiritual one, which I enjoyed. Peter Falk playing himself along with a performance from Nick Cave were both delightful bonuses.