Author Topic: Wim Wenders  (Read 5198 times)

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SoNowThen

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Wim Wenders
« on: April 14, 2004, 01:13:04 PM »
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Anchor Bay has repackaged 3 Wenders dvds together at a reduced price, and I'm thinking of buying: Lightning Over Water, American Friend, and some fashion documentary, Notes On Cities I think it's called.

I've never seen any of those, but the first two sound amazing. Basically the idea of this box is that you can buy these on their own for $24 each, or you can buy the box for $45. However, I didn't really dig Wings Of Desire all that much, so I dunno if I'm gonna be a huge Wenders fan.

So, any opinions on those 3 flicks? If I end up liking two, the blind buy is worth it...
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

Ghostboy

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Wim Wenders
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2004, 09:48:42 AM »
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I've seen a handful of his films, but none of the ones in the boxed set.  I really like what I've seen, including the angels films, so I'd probably get it.

You should buy the box set just for the prestige of having it, so that when people come over they can be even more impressed at your worldly collection. Then, when people spy the Wenders films and ask you what you think of them, you can shake your head and mutter something pretentious about how you hate them but keep them out of some sort of twisted, self loathing sense of germanic pride. Or something like that.

SoNowThen

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Wim Wenders
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2004, 09:52:24 AM »
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I love you.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

cron

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Wim Wenders
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2004, 09:58:55 AM »
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You should get "Paris, Texas"     even if it's Region 2.
context, context, context.

SoNowThen

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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2004, 08:59:14 AM »
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Yes, I wanna see that, but it's hard to find 'round here.

***

So I got this box set. Watched the one flick I wasn't sure about last night: Notebook On Cities And Clothes. Very thought provoking. The premise was loosely just to learn about this Japanese fashion designer, but it turned into a meditation on the image, with a comparison of video and film.

Anyway, as I watched it, I started to become aware of this guy's business -- fashion -- and began to think about it in relation to film. If he picks a more expensive material, or a greater amount of work/workers have to go into making the clothes, the price reflects that. This is sorta the same with food, cars, etc etc. But in movies (and cds, and I suppose books as well), there are basically fixed prices, regardless of the product. Except for the differences between matinee and night prices, or 1 disc & 2 disc prices on dvds, everything is fixed. The audience basically pays the same whether for a crap movie or for an amazing movie. $200 million budget, or $2 million budget, if I go to the theatre at noon, they're both the same ticket price. Does this make it the great democratic art form, audience-wise? Maybe "democratic" is the wrong word...
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

reelistics07

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Wim Wenders
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2004, 10:33:33 AM »
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i also have this box set, notebook on cities and clothes was one i was kinda sketchy about when i bought it. but like you i figured two good films is worth one bad egg. the first i watched was american friend, because my parents recommended it to me. the visual aspect of it is so beautiful, but i was kinda half asleep when i was watching it, so i didnt get into the story, but i found the hitman art dealer thing really interesting. thanks for your thoughts on the fashion film, i think ill watch it this weekend.

MacGuffin

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Wim Wenders
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2005, 01:35:05 PM »
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Fathers who flee focus of Wenders' Cannes entry

A morally bankrupt Hollywood star who deserts the set of his latest Western after a drug-fueled orgy with groupies is the subject of Wim Wenders' well-received Cannes entry Thursday.

"Don't Come Knocking" concerns the emptiness of a troubled playboy Western hero who discovers he fathered two children who are now adults. It took the German director and screenwriter Sam Shepard 5 years of collaboration to make.

Both Wenders, who won the 1984 "Golden Palm" for "Paris, Texas," and Shepard, who not only wrote the screenplay but is superb as a worn-out Cowboy looking for his life, basked in the applause at its world premiere and news conference.
 
"It's certainly one of the best things I've done in my life," said Wenders, 59, a Cannes fixture, of his seventh film at the world's most important festival. Wenders had endured withering attacks for some recent critical and commercial flops.

"I'm very proud of this film," he added, clearly moved by unusually loud cheers from a usually skeptical collection of critics and journalists. "Already while we were shooting it I had the feeling we were doing something right."

A film that amusingly portrays men as losers without any bearings but women as the stronger and wiser gender, "Don't Come Knocking" also tackles the hot new topic of "paternity," a central theme in several competition films this year.

FATHERS MISS OUT ON FAMILIES

"The family and the love you miss out on because you run away from it is a very important general topic these days," said Wenders, whose 2000 film "The Million Dollar Hotel" was disparaged by Mel Gibson as "boring as a dog's ass."

"I know so many people who suffer because they realized they missed the most important things of their lives," Wenders added. "I think the disintegration of the family is one of the main subjects people all over the world are concerned about."

The loser Western hero played by Shepard, Howard Spence, literally jumps on a horse and flees the location of an expensive film production in the Utah desert. He escapes to his mother, whom he hasn't seen or talked to in 30 years.

His mother's questions about the affairs, drugs and alcohol problems she's read about in tabloids don't bother Spence. But he is shaken to learn that a woman he at first can't remember called her almost 30 years ago to say he fathered her baby.

Slowly recalling the woman, he heads off to find her and the son he never knew. A daughter from another woman he never knew about either is also searching for him -- as is a nasty private investigator hired by the film company. They all wind up in Butte, Montana, for a gathering that doesn't go well.

"With Sam as the writer, you can sleep well at night as a director," Wenders said.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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rustinglass

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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2005, 03:09:58 PM »
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I should say that "Land of Plenty" is fantastic!
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modage

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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2005, 04:01:31 PM »
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you SHOULD say that.  but you wont.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

w/o horse

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Re: Wim Wenders
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2006, 07:25:51 PM »
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My roommate just got the boxset and fuck.  I want to say that in the way Melville did the urban samurai in Le Samourai, Wenders here does the urban Melville.  There was this train sequence that felt classic and contemporary and there were shots during chaises and get aways that were on par with De Palma.  There was a red sky scene that fucking just made my day, and there's Samuel Fuller and Nicholas Ray as actors and there's fucking terrific performances from Bruno Ganz and Dennis Hopper.  I don't think I've every enjoyed Hopper so much in fact.  After the red sky scene there's a Hopper scene where he's talking about being confused and then he walks on this ledge and we cut to a wind tube from a window and we pull in and see Fuller and that's just one great sequence out of many.

I watched this movie twice in two days and I think I'm going to go for another.

The American Friend, I forgot to say that.  The movie I was talking about was The American Friend.
Raven haired Linda and her school mate Linnea are studying after school, when their desires take over and they kiss and strip off their clothes. They take turns fingering and licking one another's trimmed pussies on the desks, then fuck each other to intense orgasms with colorful vibrators.

Reinhold

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Re: Wim Wenders
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2006, 09:40:34 PM »
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there's an advance screening of this this thursday in manhattan, sponsored by the museum of the moving image. my prof didn't say where, exactly, but he's gonna send an e-mail with details. it's probably somewhere on their site or you might be able to call.

anyway, i think it's $20 admission or $12 for members/students. Wim Wenders and Jessica Lange will be there.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

I Don't Believe in Beatles

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Re: Wim Wenders
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2006, 09:50:35 PM »
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there's an advance screening of this this thursday in manhattan, sponsored by the museum of the moving image. my prof didn't say where, exactly, but he's gonna send an e-mail with details. it's probably somewhere on their site or you might be able to call.

anyway, i think it's $20 admission or $12 for members/students. Wim Wenders and Jessica Lange will be there.

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MacGuffin

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Re: Wim Wenders
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2006, 01:03:43 AM »
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Wim Wenders Talks About the Future of Cinema, Praises Malick.
Source: Jeffrey M. Anderson; Cinematical

In 1982, Wim Wenders made a documentary called Chambre 666, in which he asked a handful of top world film directors to comment upon the future of cinema. Last week, Mr. Wenders was in San Francisco to talk about his latest film, Don't Come Knocking (now playing), and I asked him the same thing. Here's what he had to say:

"I think there's a lot of hope. Consider where we were in the 90s, it looked like the future of movies was blockbusters and nothing but. And then today, there are documentaries again in a big way. A lot of people, that's the favorite thing for them to see. And that for me is very promising. The comeback of documentaries is strictly linked to the arrival of digital technology. We only see the tip of the iceberg. The whole the notion of distribution will be changed in the next decade."

Have any recent movies or filmmakers captured Wenders' attention? "I saw one of the greatest films of my life not so long ago, and I've now seen it four times. For me it's one of those movies above everything in the Oscars, and there were some great movies, but it was in a class by itself, way above all of it, and that was The New World, Terrence Malick's movie. That was one monster movie, and it was so good that nobody could even grasp it. It got nominated just for Best Cinematography and it should have won that by a landslide. I don't know why it completely disappeared. In ten years it will be a classic and everybody will say, 'That was the movie that mattered in 2005. ...'"
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Pubrick

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Re: Wim Wenders
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2006, 06:04:02 AM »
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Have any recent movies or filmmakers captured Wenders' attention? "I saw one of the greatest films of my life not so long ago, and I've now seen it four times. For me it's one of those movies above everything in the Oscars, and there were some great movies, but it was in a class by itself, way above all of it, and that was The New World, Terrence Malick's movie. That was one monster movie, and it was so good that nobody could even grasp it. It got nominated just for Best Cinematography and it should have won that by a landslide. I don't know why it completely disappeared. In ten years it will be a classic and everybody will say, 'That was the movie that mattered in 2005. ...'"
man i love when classy directors talk about other classy directors. usually they don't because of pride or because at this point in their careers they think they can't appear to be influenced by their "contemporaries", or worse, younger directors. so they stick to only saying "yeah that kid is alrite", or "that old dude, he meant a lot to me". here wenders is basically saying Mallick made a better movie, a more significant film, than he or anyone else has. that's a big call, and the best part is he means it. i like that.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Wim Wenders
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2006, 10:44:04 AM »
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Where whim wanders
German director Wim Wenders tells Stephanie Bunbury why his new western, Don't Come Knocking, is his final American movie.
Source: The Age

Thirty years ago, there was no name in cinema cooler than that of Wim Wenders. From the thoroughly German The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick (1971) to the poignantly American Paris, Texas (1984), his meandering, melancholy, allusive films picked up on a sense that there was something out there below the surface of modern life, something existentially significant but too vague to be pinned down by words, that only cinema could catch.

For Wenders fans, the flicker of the screen was like the wall of Plato's cave. Perhaps we could never see the whole truth of things but, thanks to grim Wim, we could see its shadow up there on the screen.

But who wants to gaze at the cave wall any more? Call it the Tarantino effect, but it's all cod gangsters spouting Biblical fury and martial arts high-kickers these days; the gaming generation wants blood. At least, that seemed to be the consensus in Cannes when Wenders' latest film Don't Come Knocking - written, like Paris, Texas, with celebrated American playwright Sam Shepard - was shown. To a generation of bang-bang fans, it was agreed, nothing could be more tedious than old Wimmy sending yet another miserable, washed-up old dude trailing across a wide red landscape in search of ... well, what, exactly?

Wim Wenders is, rather incredibly, 60 years old. He has been in Cannes 14 times, eight of them in competition and once as jury president; he must, he muses gently, be getting old. We don't much like glimmers of the past now, either. One of the most virulent criticisms of Don't Come Knocking is that it is no more than an attempt by both Wenders and Shepard to pick over the entrails of Paris, Texas. Worse, to pick over them unsuccessfully.

Like the earlier film - and, indeed, like practically everything Shepard has ever written - Don't Come Knocking deals with a man at the end of his tether, with lost parents, lonely children and regret. As always, his chosen landscape is the American West, which is both as a real place and as a vast field of dreams. Americans, says Shepard, ingest the western from childhood. "It is part of our imagination, certainly part of the cinematic imagination of how we imagine ourselves to be. It is part of our deep past, if we have a deep past." The West is the home ground for nostalgia - or, equally, disillusionment.

Shepard himself plays Howard Spence, a has-been western hero who compensates for his decline with a whole load of drinking, taking young folks' drugs and making out with any girl who will have him. As Don't Come Knocking begins, he is on set making yet another second-rung film when, on a whim, he simply rides off into the backdrop. He changes the horse for a train, then hires a car and goes to Nevada to see his mother, played by Eva Marie Saint, for the first time in 30 years.

She tells him that, unbeknown to him, he has a grown-up son to a waitress he met way back when he was a pin-up, making another of those interminable westerns in the Montana town of Butte. So Spence, apparently acting on a vague, Wenders-ish urge to piece his life together, hits the road again, pursued by a rather ludicrous private detective (Tim Roth) sent to bring him back to the film set he has deserted.

As in Paris, Texas, where Harry Dean Stanton tracks down his lost love to the strip joint where she has found a kind of refuge, Howard searches for that lost waitress (Jessica Lange, his real-life wife) and the newly discovered son (Gabriel Mann) who wants nothing to do with him. Two young women (Sarah Polley and Fairuza Balk) are there too, fluttering about Howard's helpless unhappiness rather like the earthbound angels in Wings of Desire (1987), the last indisputably great fictional film in the Wenders canon.

The only other character - perhaps, given Wenders' painterly eye, the most important one of all - is the town of Butte itself, once the biggest smoke west of the Mississippi but now dwindled to scarcely more than a ghost of itself. "Butte looked like Edward Hopper had lived there all his life and never painted anywhere else," says Wenders. "You just had to put your camera there and look through it and you didn't have to do much. Well, we just had to make the streets emptier than they were already. They were already empty of people, but we took a lot of stuff away as well, to make them simpler."

Wenders says that he and Shepard wanted to work together again the minute they finished Paris, Texas. "But we knew it would be a big mistake," he says. "We liked that first collaboration so much; it was so good that it was like paradise. We realised that it would be better if we didn't touch it right away."

Even 20 years on, their greatest fear was that they would repeat themselves, as the critics have accused them of trying to do; eventually, says Shepard, they decided the character was so different they "got over the trauma of it". But there is a distinction to be made here, he cautions, between actual repetition and the development of a particular idiom.

"If you're a piano player, nobody wants you to come onstage and play the trumpet," says Wenders. "But with filmmakers, people are amazed if they play the same instrument twice. Sam's instrument is the American West - or the American family, if you like. It is a huge instrument and you can play many songs on it."

Songs, however, slide in and out of fashion. The conventional critical wisdom about Wenders in his glory days - the run of masterpieces that ended with Wings of Desire - was that his work was a unique marriage of European sensibility with an American appreciation of cinematic imagery. Unleashed from Europe's confines, Wenders' eye stretched to the horizon as John Ford's had before him; he felt America's grandeur.

Looking back, however, it is clear that his films were nothing like the Ford westerns or the gangster movies he so regularly referenced; they were always as German as Goethe or Rilke, with the same sense of tortured romanticism. What was true was that much of their fire sprang from his ambivalent relationship with America. On the one hand was his fascination with its modern folklore, on the other a virulent hatred for the country that authored the Cold War. It was a common enough dualism among the Vietnam generation, obviously, but it was felt particularly keenly in divided Germany.

Wenders was imprisoned three times, he says, in the course of protesting against the Vietnam War; his stance led to a rift with his own, politically conservative father that lasted three years. Critics have noted that his tailspin as a filmmaker coincided almost exactly with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Perhaps that was the end of his era, the moment at which his nameless, charged anxiety stopped making sense.

Well before he made Paris, Texas, however, he had gone to live in the lions' den. Americans then, he says, were much more liberal than their politicians - much more liberal, indeed, than they are now. For more than a year now he has had everything in storage, preparing to leave the country for good.

"This hostile takeover by the religious right has created an unpleasant climate," he says. "It makes you feel like you want to scratch yourself all the time." His last five films were made in America, something he says he never intended; the next will be made in Germany, probably in collaboration with another of the pillars of the '70s New Wave, Peter Handke. Perhaps Don't Come Knocking represents the end of another era in Wenders' career.

Wenders did, undoubtedly, go into a bizarre decline that began with Until the End of the World (1991), in which William Hurt staggered across several countries and as many hours in a baffling quest overlaid with irritating sci-fi nonsense. He has been so regularly dismissed since then, however, that anyone who had not seen them might assume that all his subsequent films - apart from the fantastically successful Buena Vista Social Club (1999), which as a documentary does not seem to have been touched by the same curse - were indistinguishable from each other in their awfulness.

All right, Million Dollar Hotel (2000), described by its star Mel Gibson as "as boring as a dog's arse", was unbearable in its pretentiousness, while Land of Plenty (2004) was a terrible, clumsy, mawkish mulling over Wenders' own investigation of religious faith. The End of Violence (1997), however, in which Bill Pullman's high-flying movie producer takes the opportunity of a kidnap attempt to drop out of his life altogether, becoming a gardener in the houses where he once did deals, still resonates in a way that more resolved films of the time, films with a quicker pace and clearer intent, do not.

Don't Come Knocking has come in for a similar pasting as that film did: it is "a complete misfire", according to one critic, with "silly" characters, "clunking" dialogue and "a lousy sense of direction", to pick a few other comments almost at random. But I suspect that, years down the line when those criticisms have coalesced into no more than a jumbled memory of negativity, Don't Come Knocking will still sing. It may be far from the perfect song - it may even be rather out of tune - but the music is real enough. The vagaries of fashion, as the director of Buena Vista Social Club knows as well as anyone, can't change that.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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