In 1999, Claire's life is forever changed after she survives a car crash. She rescues Sam and starts traveling around the world with him. Writer Eugene follows them and writes their story, as a way of recording dreams is being invented.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The lighting and costume for the interview with Sam's sister Elsa in San Francisco appears to be a reference to the Joannes Vermeer portrait, "Girl with a Pearl Earring". 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 »
Terrible things have taken place. But sometimes the greatest happiness happens in the worst times.
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The film exists in four separate versions. The first is the significantly cut American 158-minute version released by Warner Bros. in theaters, and on VHS, LaserDisc, and some streaming platforms. Wenders has disparagingly referred this cut as the 'reader's digest version'. The second is a 179-minute cut that existed only on Japanese LaserDisc. The third is Wim Wenders' director's cut, which runs 300 minutes. This cut significantly expands scenes, motivates Claire's romantic involvement with Sam Farber and keeps it from seeming less frivolous and more the expression of a wounded heart, additional scenes in Japan, and in San Francisco with Allen Garfield as an evil car salesman (a take-off on his character in another Wenders film), and numerous other expansions/additions. This full-length version divided the film into three parts, all given episode names, and all with opening credits because it was originally intended for this version to be shown as three separate films, or as a mini-series. This 300-minute cut was only available on DVD in Germany, Italy and France. It was screened several times over the years in America and the UK: the National Film Theatre in London on Saturday 2nd July 1994, December 6, 1996 at the University of Washington, with director Wim Wenders attending, Jan. 14, 2001 at the American Cinematheque (with Wenders attending), February 24, 2001 at the Directors Guild of America Theater with Wenders announcing the film would be released on DVD. See more »
In its full length version this film is a really absorbing and enjoyable piece of work. I saw it at the National Film Theatre in London years ago, expecting to find the length a serious problem but knowing that I might not get another chance.
As it turned out there were two intervals and the fact that it took a whole afternoon added to the enjoyment... the absorption drew me in.
I never saw the short version but its relative lack of success suggests that the edit wasn't wholly successful. I don't know if the long version circulates in any form these days but if the chance arises to see it take an afternoon off, make sure the cinema has a nice cafe and settle down for a unique film.
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