Wings of Desire (1987)

DVD, Wim Wenders, 1987, with Bruno Ganz and Peter Falk

I’m normally allergic to whimsy, but this was a lovely and beguiling film. Angels in Berlin endlessly tuning in to people’s deepest thoughts. Sensed only by children and perhaps the occasional hand on a shoulder. The film ends where many others begin: a man meets a woman in a bar.

There’s so much to think about. A divided city filled with millions of personal narratives and layers of history. (And more layers added to it since the film was made: the old man looking for Potsdamer Platz then would not recognise it today either.) A film that references so many other films: The Wizard of Oz in the “grammar” of colour, It’s a Wonderful Life, Berlin Year Zero. Bruno Ganz curious about the taste and feel of life in colour after millennia as an observer. Peter Falk as an ex-angel film star who’s still recognisably Columbo. It’s such a busy film that you hold onto the love story as your guide through it and admit that only an immortal and ageless storyteller could hope to keep track of it all.

David Harvey has much to say about the film in his book on postmodernism, so I shall dig it out.

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