In 1999, Claire's life is forever changed after she survives a car crash. She rescues Sam and starts traveling around the world with him. Writer Eugene follows them and writes their story, as a way of recording dreams is being invented.
The director Friedrich Monroe has trouble with finishing a silent b&w movie about Lisbon. He calls his friend, the sound engineer Phillip Winter, for help. As Winter arrives Lisbon weeks ... See full summary »
A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film... See full summary »
On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »
Mike Max is a Hollywood producer who became powerful and rich thanks to brutal and bloody action films. His ignored wife Paige is close to leaving him. Suddenly Mike is kidnapped by two ... See full summary »
Set in 1999, a woman (Dommartin) has a car accident with some bank robbers, who enlist her help to take the bank money to a drop in Paris. On the way she runs into another fugitive from the law (Hurt), an American who is being chased by the CIA. The charges are false, he claims. They want to confiscate a device his father invented which allows anyone to record their dreams and vision. On the run from both the bank robbers and the CIA, the couple span the globe, ending up in Australia at his father's (von Sydow) research facility, where they hope to play back the recordings Hurt captured for his blind mother. Set in the futuristic year of 1999, a subplot about a damaged Indian nuclear satellite crashing and causing the end of civilization is a puzzling addition to the film. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Wenders sent out a call to his favorite musicians for original compositions for the film and received so much good music he decided not to choose a winner but to use it all. Wenders later admitted without a hint of regret that it was a decision that locked him into epic length. See more »
When Bert is shown as the guitarist in Chico's impromptu band for the first time, he hands the guitar to the green-shirted man on the bridge while the rest of the band keeps playing. But when the scene cuts to a different angle, Bert is still playing the guitar. See more »
A difficult film at first, but so is all good literature
The vast majority of people I know have never understood this film. Probably this is because the 2.5 hour running time of the original release is actually vastly too short for the story. The director's cut is a whopping 4.5 hours, but goes by so quickly one hardly notices. If you are bored, then you probably haven't figured out what's really going on. Some notes:
This is a story of trials, of how our relationships to each other, and to humanity and the Earth, are shaped and impeded by technology. It is a fearful story of the dangers of our world as Wenders saw them in almost 20 years ago now. The journey is central here (as it is in almost all epic works) and the story doesn't work without seeing that journey unfold first all over the earth (and no, it wasn't about sponsoring nations--the journey of Sam and Claire et al reenacts other journeys only alluded to in the film, bringing up themes of connectedness to family and place.)
To me the most important theme in this film is the power of the journey and of stories to transform us--a theme so old we may be tired of it, though it remains relevant today. Eugene (Neill) is to me the central character, and any good viewing of the movie depends on understanding how he fits in as more than a side character caught up in a great chase.
One last note: this doesn't deserve to be described as Sci-Fi. Yes, there's some science-like imagery in it, but the thrust of the movie is literary. The "science-fiction" in the movie serves only as an extension of the transformations and journeys of the characters. It turns those things inward rather than outward, and succeeds well in doing it. A truly remarkable and excellent film that got a bad first screening because no distributor had the guts to put out a 5 hour movie. (What would they say to Akira Kurosawa these days?)
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