_WINGS OF DESIRE_ (German : _DER HIMMEL üBER BERLIN_ – "The
Heavens Over Berlin") is a 1987 romantic fantasy film directed by Wim
Wenders . The film is about invisible, immortal angels who populate
Inspired by art depicting angels visible around West Berlin , at the time enclaved by the Berlin Wall , Wenders and author Peter Handke conceived of the story and continued to develop the screenplay throughout the French and German co-production. The film was shot by Henri Alekan in both a rich, sepia-toned black-and-white and colour, with the former being used to represent the world as seen by the angels. For _Wings of Desire_, Wenders won awards for Best Director at both the Cannes Film Festival and European Film Awards . The film was a critical and financial success, and academics have interpreted it as a statement of the importance of cinema, libraries, the circus, or German unity , containing New Age , religious, secular or other themes.
It was followed by a sequel, _ Faraway, So Close! _, released in 1993. _City of Angels _, a U.S. remake, was released in 1998. _Wings of Desire_ has often been regarded as one of the major films of the 1980s .
* 1 Plot * 2 Cast * 3 Themes and interpretations
* 4 Production
* 4.1 Conception * 4.2 Casting * 4.3 Filming * 4.4 Post-production
* 5 Release
* 6 Reception
* 6.1 Box office * 6.2 Critical reception * 6.3 Accolades
* 7 Legacy * 8 See also
* 9 References
* 9.1 Bibliography
* 10 External links
Among the Berliners they encounter in their wanderings is an old man
named Homer, who, unlike the Greek poet
Damiel is finally persuaded to shed his immortality. He experiences life for the first time: he bleeds, sees colours, tastes food and drinks coffee. Meanwhile, Cassiel taps into the mind of a young man just about to commit suicide by jumping off a building. Cassiel tries to save the young man but is unable to do so, and is left tormented by the experience. Sensing Cassiel's presence, Falk reaches out to him as he had Damiel, but Cassiel is unwilling to follow their example. Eventually, Damiel meets the trapeze artist Marion at a bar during a concert by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds , and they greet each other with familiarity as if they had long known each other. The next day, Damiel considers how his time with Marion taught him to feel amazed, and how he has gained knowledge no angel is capable of achieving.
Cast photos at filming location Imbiss Bundesallee in Berlin.
In one scene, Damiel and
Cassiel meet to share stories in their
observations, with their function revealed to be one of preserving the
past. Professor Alexander Graf wrote this connects them to cinema,
with Wenders noting _Wings of Desire_ itself depicts or shows places
Academic Laura Marcus believed a connection between cinema and print is also established in the angels' affinity for libraries, as Wenders portrays the library as a tool of "memory, and public space", making it a miraculous place. The depiction of Damiel, by using a pen or an immaterial pen, to write "Song of Childhood", is also tribute to print and literacy, introducing, or as Marcus hypothesized, "perhaps even releasing, the visual images that follow". Kolker and Beickene interpreted the use of poetry as part of screenwriter Peter Handke 's efforts to elevate language above common rhetoric to the spiritual. Reviewing the poetry, Detweiler remarked that Handke's "Song of Childhood" bears parallels to St. Paul 's 1 Corinthians 13 ("_When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child ..._ ").
The film has also been read as a call for
German reunification ,
which followed in 1990. Essayists David Caldwell and Paul Rea saw it
as presenting a series of two opposites: East and West, angel and
human, male and female. Wenders' angels are not bound by the Wall,
reflecting East and West Berlin's shared space, though East Berlin
remains primarily black and white. Scholar Martin Jesinghausen
believed the film presumed reunification would never happen, and
contemplated its statements on divides, including territorial and
"higher" divides, "physicality and spirituality, art and reality,
black and white and colour". Researcher Helen Stoddart, in discussing
the depiction of the circus and trapeze artist Marion in particular,
submitted Marion is the classic circus character, creating an image of
danger and then potential. Stoddart argued that
After living and working in the United States for eight years,
Wim Wenders returned to his native
West Germany and wished to
reconnect to it with a film about his favourite part of it, West
Rainer Maria Rilke 's poetry partially inspired the story. Wenders
claimed angels seemed to dwell in Rilke's poetry, and the director had
also jotted "angels" in his notes one day, and noted angel-themed
artwork in cemeteries and around Berlin. In his treatment , Wenders
also considered a backstory in which
Peter Handke , who wrote much of the dialogue, the
poetic narrations, and the film's recurring poem "Song of Childhood".
Wenders found the names Damiel and
Cassiel in an encyclopedia about
angels, and also had photographs of
Solveig Dommartin ,
Wenders believed it would be important for the actors playing the two main angel characters to be familiar and friendly with each other. Ganz and Sander had performed in some of the same stage productions for 20 years. Sander and Ganz also recommended Curt Bois to Wenders and asked Bois to perform.
The film was shot by the cinematographer
Henri Alekan , who had
Jean Cocteau 's _La Belle et la Bête _. It represents the
angels' point of view in monochrome, as they cannot see colours, and
switches to colour to show the human point of view. During filming,
Alekan used a very old and fragile silk stocking that had belonged to
his grandmother as a filter for the monochromatic sequences, adding a
touch of sepia to the black and white . The shift from monochrome to
colour, to distinguish the angels' reality from that of the mortals,
was used earlier in _A Matter of Life and Death _. Wenders felt it
was natural that angels without experience of the physical would not
see colour, and also thought
Filming took place at actual locations in
West Berlin , such as Hans
With little idea of how to portray the angels and no costume design, Wenders said the filmmakers consulted artwork, experimented, and found the idea of armor during production, and told U.S. filmmaker Brad Silberling they did not decide on overcoats until later. The hairstyle was loosely inspired by a photograph of a Japanese warrior. Although the circus scenes required extensive and risky acrobatics, Dommartin was able to learn the trapeze and rope moves in only eight weeks, and did all the work herself, without a stunt double.
Peter Handke arrived in
West Berlin during the editing process, led
Peter Przygodda . Handke believed it bordered on a silent film ,
aside from some music, and lacked much of the notes he had sent to
Wenders during filming. Handke thus proposed adding his writings via
voice-over . After Falk left Berlin, he recorded much of his
voice-over in a sound studio in
Composer Jürgen Knieper assumed harps and violins would suffice for a score for a film about angels, until he saw a cut of the film. Seeing the angels were discontent, he wrote a different score also employing a choir, voices and whistling. A pie fight between the stars was filmed for the final scene, but later edited out.
The film debuted at the
Cannes Film Festival on 17 May 1987. _Der
Himmel über Berlin_ subsequently opened in
West Germany late in
October 1987. With
Orion Classics as its U.S. distributor, it opened
New York City
The Criterion Collection released the film in
Region 1 on
_Der Himmel über Berlin_ had 922,718 admissions in Germany. Under the title _Les Ailes du désir_, it had a further 1,079,432 admissions in France.
The film finished its run in North America on 11 May 1989, having grossed $3.2 million, or possibly nearly $4 million, a beneficial investment for Orion. Critic James Monaco assessed the financial performance as above that of typical art films. In 2000, _Variety _ calculated that it was 48th in the top 50 highest-grossing foreign language films ever released in the U.S., and one of only three in German , along with _ Das Boot _ and _ Run Lola Run _.
_Wings of Desire_ received "Two Thumbs Up" from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on _Siskel & Ebert ">'s Rita Kempley credited Wenders and Handke for crafting a "whimsical realm of myth and philosophical pretense, dense with imagery and sweetened by Ganz's performance". Dissenting, Pauline Kael remarked, "It's enough to make moviegoers feel impotent".
By 1990, _Wings of Desire_ was placed in the top 10 best films of the
1980s by critics
David Denby (first), _The
It was submitted by West Germany for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film , a bid supported by its distribution company. It was not nominated, with the Academy traditionally not recognizing West German cinema.
AWARD DATE OF CEREMONY CATEGORY RECIPIENT(S) RESULT REF(S)
Cannes Film Festival 7 – 19 May 1987 Best Director Wim Wenders Won
César Awards 12 March 1988 Best Foreign Film Nominated
Best Director Wim Wenders Won
Best Supporting Actor Curt Bois Won
Best Camera Henri Alekan Nominated
French Syndicate of Cinema Critics 1988 Best Foreign Film Wim Wenders Won
German Film Awards 1988 Best Feature Film Won
Best Cinematography Henri Alekan Won
Independent Spirit Awards
Best Cinematography Henri Alekan Won
National Society of Film Critics 8 January 1989 Best Director Wim Wenders 3rd place
Best Cinematography Henri Alekan Won
In 1993, Wenders made a sequel, _
Faraway, So Close! _, which he found
desirable to explore
A stage adaptation of _Wings of Desire_ was created by the Northern
Stage theatre company in
Newcastle upon Tyne
* List of submissions to the 60th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film * List of German submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Wings of Desire". _
Box Office Mojo _. Retrieved 5 July
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Der Himmel über Berlin". _Lexikon des internationalen
Films_. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
* ^ Billingham 2013 , p. 13.
* ^ Fitzpatrick & Roland 2006 , p. 48.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Kolker & Beicken 1993 , p. 141.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Cook 1997 , p. 165.
* ^ Graf 2002 , p. 115.
* ^ Hasenberg 1997 , p. 54.
* ^ Kolker & Beicken 1993 , p. 148.
* ^ Detweiler 2009 , p. 124.
* ^ Brady & Leal 2011 , p. 263.
* ^ Graf 2002 , p. 116.
* ^ Graf 2002 , pp. 117-118.
* ^ Scheibel 2017 , p. 167.
* ^ Kolker & Beicken 1993 , p. 138.
* ^ Kolker & Beicken 1993 , p. 140.
* ^ Graf 2002 , p. 118.
* ^ Marcus 2015 , pp. 205-206.
* ^ Marcus 2015 , p. 206.
* ^ Kolker Wenders, Wim (2009). _The Angels Among Us_ (Blu-ray).
The Criterion Collection .
* ^ Cook 1997 , p. 164.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Wenders, Wim (9 November 2009). "On Wings of
The Criterion Collection _. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Kenny, J.M.; Handke, Peter (2009). _The Angels Among
The Criterion Collection .
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Kenny, J.M.; Wenders, Wim; Sander, Otto (2009).
_The Angels Among Us_ (Blu-ray).
The Criterion Collection .
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Feaster, Felicia. "WINGS OF DESIRE". _Turner
Classic Movies _. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
* ^ Hurbis-Cherrier 2012 , p. 277.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Singer, Leigh (14 September 2016). "Five visual themes
Wings of Desire
* Batchelor, David (2000). _Chromophobia_. Reaktion Books. ISBN
* Billingham, Peter (2013). "'Into My Arms': Themes of Desire and
Spirituality in The Boatman's Call". _The Art of Nick Cave: New
Critical Essays_. Bristol and Chicago: Intellect Books. ISBN
* Brady, Martin; Leal, Joanne (2011). "Leafing Through Wings of
Wim Wenders and Peter Handke: Collaboration, Adaptation,
Recomposition_. Rodopi. ISBN 9042032480 .
* Bromley, Roger (2001). _From Alice to Buena Vista: The Films of
Wim Wenders_. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0275966488 .
* Byg, Barton (2014). "Spectral Images in the Aftermath of GDR
Cinema". _DEFA After East Germany_. Rochester, New York: Camden House.
ISBN 1571135820 .
* Christensen, Miyase; Erdoǧan, Nezih (2008). _Shifting Landscapes:
Film and Media in European Context_. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
ISBN 1847184731 .
* Cook, Roger F. (1997). "Angels, Fiction, and History in Berlin:
Wings of Desire". _The Cinema of Wim Wenders: Image, Narrative, and
the Postmodern Condition_. Wayne State University Press. ISBN
* Detweiler, Craig (2009). "Christianity". _The Routledge Companion
to Religion and Film_. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 1135220662
* Detweiler, Craig (2017). "10. Wings of Desire". _