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Handke and Wenders explore patterns of thought and their relation to reality.
The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (In German with English subtitles), a film by Wim Wenders and Peter Handke from a novella by Peter Handke (1971).
The Goalie s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is the first collaboration of Wim Wenders and Peter Handke, a collaboration which produced Wings of Desire in 1987. In The Goalie, Handke and Wenders explore patterns of thought and their relation to reality.
The main action of the film occurs in the first minute, where we get one view of how the Goalie misses blocking a penalty kick and loses the game for his team.
Later, we get to hear him describe the action and we also get a view of the way it really happened, the videotaped highlights on the tv news. They are three wonderfully different plausible representations which each explain the result just as well. While only one explains the goalie's anxiety before the penalty kick, all three allow for his anxiety afterwards.
The night after the game, the goalie goes to see "Red Line 7000." This was James Caan's first starring role, a movie about wild young stock car racers getting hooked up with women drawn to them for their romantic image, yet making them settle down once hooked. A Film about moving away from the action and into mundane adult life. So it is that the goalie's anxiety concerned with the end of playing for a living and the beginning of a mundane existence.
Then the goalie sees a film called "Die Zitten der Faelschers" (Faelschers > counterfeiters) and he makes a joke about it. Our hero picks up the ticket girl at the theater and they end up in her apartment, where he kills her as she prepares to leave for work the next day. I suspect Wenders & Handke intend for us to imply that he is killing in this film the thing that got Caan in "Red Line 7000." Several sequences later, the goalie sees another movie, "Gross Mandel," which I cannot identify.
Now Wenders plays with our patterns, our expectations. While critics complained that the plot was disjointed, I think Wenders actually is aiming for this. He is trying to get the viewer to evaluate his/her own preconceptions and expectations about plot.
Several portentous scenes play out to nothing, in the end. A boy disappears, the goalie is a stranger in town, he should be a prime suspect. Nothing. (In the novella, the goalie sees the missing boy s body float by in the scene on the footbridge). The goalie sees a movie "Nur Nach 72 Stunden" ("72 Hours to Go," the pilot for the tv show "Madigan"), what a build up for the goalie as a prime suspect being caught or shooting it out. All for naught.
Patterns... Concepts... But only possibilities, all equally probable. The goalie's explanation: Until the shot is made, all possible plays are equally real to the goalie, he must decide which play to defend (which probability is real).
Which is real? Well, this is art: It makes you think.
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