Went out with a woman in the early 90’s who had that picture of Bruno Ganz blown up full size on the inside of her toilet door. Made having a poo very spiritual.
And she had other stills from the film too, I’m sure this was on her portfolio of drawings
Like her I liked the central conceit of the film: Angels listening in, knowing us in spirit as spirits.
Bruno Ganzy like angels with little tiny tails of hair dressed in dark heavy coats saying things like “Why am I here, and why not there?”
Yes, the thought of angels in the library reading the thoughts youre reading was always quite appealing. I’d like Bruno Ganz to be sat beside me keeping my spirit awake and warm, or occasionally laying his soft spiritual hand on my shoulder when I need reassurance or a bit of angelic uplift.
But actually, if I’m being honest, I always found this film a bit of a bore.
Those first 20 minutes of Bruno and Co wandering around listening in to peoples disturbings and yearnings I’m engaged by. But when the love-story with Solveig Dommartin kicks in, I start tuning out. She can’t carry the weight of Brunos desire. She looks pretty enough but seems to me she got the part more for being Wim Wenders girlfriend than any obvious acting ability. She has the unfortunate knack of making anything she says sound like gobbledegook:
“We are now the times. We two are now more than us two. We incarnate something. We’re representing the people now. And the whole place is full of those who are dreaming the same dream. We are deciding everyone’s game. I am ready. Look. My eyes. They are the picture of necessity, of the future of everyone in the place”
Actually, looking at it, it is gobbledegook. I cringe as much now reading it as I did watching her stumble-say her way through it.
Most of this film is said in that ludicrous vein. The screenplay aims at an elevated tone but Goethe or Schiller it ain’t. It sounds more like faux philosophy abstracted far too up itself, into this portentous poeticism pretension. Ok. I’m perhaps being a little unfair there. I can see why they would have wanted to heighten the language into Angel-Orbit. I mean, Angels are wiser than us Humans right? So they’ve obviously got bigger and better things to say. So the bigger they say them the better they sound. But after a while it does gets a little tiring – and tiresome – listening to them (listening to us)
Overall, I’d say the film is 20% sublime to 80% ridiculous. Therefore, its mostly quite a challenge to sit through. I don’t feel towards this film the compassion Bruno feels towards its human beings (so much so he wants to become one, and suffer the agonies of earthly life, human love)
But in that sublime 20% there is something kind of great going on, something that gets to feel worthwhile, wonderful even; a call to celebrate the transient and fragile moments of being human; all those little-immense moments of being alive: the warmth of a cup of coffee on a cold day, the embrace of a friend, the touch of a lover, the rapture of being Love. The mere fact that I, you, we, exist here on earth at all – something incredible about that isn’t there? Something miraculous.
So I’d say watch this film to see if you can experience that sublime 20%. But be prepared to have to wade through quite a weary wodge of substantial bullshit.
I’ve boiled the 20% sublime into this 12m minute edit (so that you can skip over the bullshit)
Yes, had to put this on Vimeo (YouTube kicked it off for copyright infringement)
Dir: Wim Wenders, Germany
The sublime 20% gets 9/10 but the ridiculous 80% gets 2/10. Therefore I give this 5.5/10