Six days in the life of Wilhelm: a detached man without qualities. He wants to write, so his mother gives him a ticket to Bonn, telling him to live. On the train he meets an older man, an ... See full summary »
Six days in the life of Wilhelm: a detached man without qualities. He wants to write, so his mother gives him a ticket to Bonn, telling him to live. On the train he meets an older man, an athlete in the 1936 Olympics, and his mute teen companion, Mignon. She's an acrobat in market squares for spare change. An actress, whom Wilhelm gazes at, joins them. Then, a plump young man introduces himself, having heard them talk of poetry. He takes them to his uncle's, except it's the wrong house; they interrupt a man's suicide. He invites them to stay. The actress tries to connect to Wilhelm. Couplings and rare bursts of feeling come as surprises; other characters remain alone. Written by
This early Wim Wenders film is about a frustrated writer who is encouraged by his mother to take a train trip to Bonn. On the way he meets an odd assortment of characters including a former concentration camp guard who is now a street musician, a mute teenage acrobat, a semi-famous actress, a hilarious overweight would-be poet, and the latter's "uncle", a depressed suicidal recluse. The film is rather talky and philosophical, frequently meditating on the nature of artistic creation itself. It has kind of morose atmosphere to it like Wender's later film "Paris, Texas", but without the redemptive ending. For lack of a better word I would call it existentialist. Like "Paris, Texas" it's kind of an existentialist road movie except that the characters travel by train.
The only recognizable actor in this is a young Nastassia Kinski. This isn't nearly as sexy as one of her late 70's/early 80's roles (but like "To the Devil a Daughter" a year later, it's probably sexier than it ought to be). Still, whereas most male directors at the time were mostly interested in undressing Kinski (both on and off screen), Wenders can be credited at least with making her a more respected actress, mostly with her later role in "Paris, Texas", but also to a lesser extent with her debut role in this.
I can see why people find this kind of slow-going and perhaps a little depressing. But I found it quite interesting and actually enjoyed it.
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