By RICA AREVALO
The Goethe-Institut in Manila hosts the “Wim Wenders Retrospective” that will screen nine Wim Wenders classics at the Cinematheque Center Manila at the Film Development Council of the Philippines every weekend until May 26 and at the Cinematheque Center in Davao from June 1 to June 30.
Wenders’ works encompass a vast cinematic world. He is one of the pioneers of the New German Cinema during the ‘70s, alongside Werner Herzog and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He received the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in 1984 for his movie Paris, Texas, the Golden Lion at the 1982 Venice Film Festival for The State of Things, and Best Director at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival for Wings of Desire.
In Alice in the Cities (1974), Wenders discovered the road movie genremixing European and American landscapes. Philip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) has a writer’s block and has missed the deadline to the frustration of his publisher. He can only produce Polaroid photographs on his trip. In New York, to book a flight back to Europe, he meets Lisa (Lisa Kreuzer) and her young daughter Alice (Yella Rottländer). The German woman urges him to take the child to Amsterdam due to an urgent business matter. Philip and Alice mutually dislike one another but they have no choice, especially when Lisa fails to meet them. Philip and Alice try to find the grandmother revealed in a photo with no address. Are they going to be successful? In the process of poetic self-discovery, their animosity turns to heartfelt fondness for each other.
In Paris, Texas (1984), out of nowhere, Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) roams out of the desert and collapses. We find out his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) has been looking for his lost brother who went missing after his marriage ended, leaving a sevenyear-old son (Hunter Carson) to his care. The reunion proves challenging for all the characters. Travis wants to be a father to an unwilling son. He tries to bond with Hunter and even wonders how to “look” like a father. A touching scene is when Hunter and Travis copy each other’s action while walking on opposite sides of the street. Truth is sometimes sad, a reality Travis has to face.
His former wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), sends a cheque every month from a Houston bank. The two make a surprise road trip to find Jane. Travis discovers Jane in a sex club catering to men through a one-way mirror glass and over the telephone. Travis makes the greatest sacrifice and tells Jane to look for the waiting Hunter in a hotel. There is no physical touch between the two, only closure. He confesses, “He needs you now, Jane. And he wants to see you.”
At Cannes, the film won three prizes: the Palme d’Or, the FIPRESCI Prize, and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.
Can an angel be human? Wings of Desire (1987) stars Bruno Ganz as Damiel who flies all over Berlin, hearing the hopes, pains, fears, and dreams of people. This is a quiet, slow, and meditating film. He yearns how to feel, to touch, to smell, and to converse. The film creates a mood of isolation and sadness. Damiel falls in love with a trapeze artist and is willing to give away his immortality to be human.
Legendary cinematographer Henri Alekan weaves his monochrome scenes to vibrant color to show Damiel has found love. Wings of Desire was voted the second best film of the 1980s film, behind Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, at the poll of US film magazine Premiere. The Wim Wenders Retrospective is free admission on a first come, first served basis.