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... 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 ... See full summary »
Hans Christian Blech
A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out film-theatres. He meets up with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
After the wild life-style of a famous young German photographer almost gets him killed, he goes to Palermo, Sicily to take a break. Can the beautiful city and a beautiful local woman help him calm himself down?
Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to... 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>
'Wim Wender''s original rough cut for this film was twenty hours long ("It will never be seen!"). See more »
When many of the European characters leave the Mbantua settlement and take a group photo, believing the adventure to be over, the voice-over mentions that it is February, 2000. Yet shortly after we see Henry Farber trying a new series of experiments on recording dream imagery, and a computer display for the current experiment says January 21. See more »
Life ends. But I've seen, finally, after these years. This is our story, my darling. What a chase it has been. What a dance.
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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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