A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.
Visible only to those like them and to human children, Damiel and Cassiel are two angels, who have existed even before humankind. Along with several other angels, they currently wander around West Berlin, generally on their own, observing and preserving life, sometimes trying to provide comfort to the troubled, although those efforts are not always successful. Among those they are currently observing are: the cast and crew of a movie - a detective story set in WWII Nazi Germany - which include a sensitive and perceptive Peter Falk; an elderly man named Homer looking for eternal peace; and the troupe of a financially failing circus, which has closed early for the season because of those financial problems. One day, Damiel tells Cassiel that he wants to become human, to feel not only the sensory aspects of physical beings, but also emotional aspects. He embarks on this thought with the full realization that there is no turning back if he decides to do so. His thoughts are largely ...Written by
Wim Wenders: a film-crew member in the scene where Otto Sander observes a movie set. See more »
When Damiel rides the subway, the train passes a station without stopping. There are fresh posters on the station wall so this is not one of the "ghost stations" where trains did not stop in the 1980s. See more »
[in German, using English subtitles]
When the child was a child, it walked with its arms swinging. It wanted the stream to be a river, the river a torrent, and this puddle to be the sea. When the child was a child, it didn't know it was a child. Everything was full of life, and all life was one. When the child was a child, it had no opinion about anything, no habits. It often sat cross-legged, took off running, had a cowlick in its hair, and didn't make faces when ...
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Dedicated to all the former angels, but especially to Yasujiro, François and Andrej. See more »
If my grandchildren ever ask me what it was like back in the Cold War, I'll tell them to watch this movie. It is both frighteningly bleak and lyrically beautiful. It captures the spirit of the times (Western civilization immediately before the fall of the Berlin Wall) better than any movie I've ever seen. And it manages to be a love letter to those times while also showing the place and time in all its inescapable ugliness.
The overall plot moves forward pretty nicely for a movie where plot doesn't seem to matter all that much, and there are some beautiful vignettes, beautifully photographed, acted, and directed. I'm not sure how anyone can make it through the movie without falling in love with Bruno Ganz's angel. I think the movie's lyricism holds up well on multiple viewing -- as long as you liked it the first time. If the self-consciously art-house form bugs you, however, or you find the screenplay's "poetry" to be too facile, you'll probably find this movie grating. I, however, have never seen people reading silently in a public library without thinking of this movie . . . .
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