Saturday, March 19, 2011

263) Wings of Desire (1987)

263) Wings of Desire (1987) Dir: Wim Wenders Date Released: May 1988 Date Seen: August 24, 2010 Rating: 4/5

Even this, the most sophisticated and visually rapturous of the Wenders's films I've seen (I haven't seen a lot; I could always see more before making grandiose statements like this, I suppose) has an extremely shallow emotional resonance. Every emotional experience portrayed in Wings of Desire has the potential to be sublime, from a live performance of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "The Carny" to the countless momentary affairs that Bruno Ganz's angel has before and after being transformed into a beautiful and flawed human animal. The cryptic nature of the film's dialogue barely conceals that screenwriter Richard Reitinger's screenplay is almost instantly inaccessible, requiring multiple viewings for its heavy meaning to sink in. It's an oddly intellectual approach for a movie about angels that are wallowing in human emotions. Still, the spectacular tableaux vivant that Wenders creates fosters the illusion of affecting nuance so damn well. He's the most accomplished emo arthouse filmmaker I can think of off-hand. That and $2.25 will get you bus fare. Wings of Desire consistently is gobsmackingly beautiful, especially when viewed using the Criterion Collection's Blu-Ray. It's a necessarily overwhelming experience, which is exactly what Wenders is going for. So yeah, convoluted though it may be, I readily admit that I could just be missing the big picture here. Still: wooooow, neato!

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