Wim Wenders: A Retrospective


“Wenders has had monumental influence on cinema. The time is right for a celebration of his work.”

Recipient of an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, the German filmmaker Wim Wenders (b. Düsseldorf, 1945) has had a long and distinguished career spanning the five decades from his earliest 16mm experimental shorts of the late 1960s to his recent award-winning arts documentaries such as Pina (2011) and The Salt of the Earth (2014).

Wenders first came to wide attention in the 1970s as the director of a series of existential road movies exploring modern-day alienation, spiritual confusion, loneliness and dislocation, the Americanization of Europe, the expressive possibilities of landscape, the glories of pop and rock music, and the primacy of the cinema. Including The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1971), Alice in the Cities (1974), and Kings of the Road (1976), these haunting, highly-assured films — along with The American Friend (1977), a brilliant adaptation of Patricia Highsmith — established Wenders as a filmmaker of international prominence. Wenders’s work, in turn, helped establish das neue Kino, the New German Cinema — that brave new wave of Wenders, Fassbinder, Herzog, Kluge, Schlöndorff, von Trotta, et al. — as arguably the most significant national cinema of the 1970s . With the 1980s art-house hits Paris, Texas (1984) and Wings of Desire (1987), Wenders’s international popularity reached a zenith.

Running from October through December, this major retrospective of Wenders’s cinema (the first presented in Vancouver in more than two decades) includes new digital restorations of many of his key fiction and nonfiction films; rare screenings of his early experimental short works, and of The Left-Handed Woman (1978), produced by Wenders and directed by his frequent collaborator Peter Handke; and (coming in December) the Vancouver premiere of the full-length, five-hour Director’s Cut of Wenders’s monumental science-fiction feature Until the End of the World (1991).

Acknowledgements: Janus Films (New York); Brian Belovarac, Janus Films

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Program Note: Wrong Move (1975), previously announced as part of our Wim Wenders retrospective, will not be available for our Vancouver presentation. A restoration is pending.

Click for film notes + showtimes

Recent Showings

Wenders’s audacious adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game is, in our humble opinion, one of the great films of the 1970s.
A soccer goalie, ejected from a match, commits a motiveless murder in Wenders's hypnotic and haunting second feature.
Wenders won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for this moody existential odyssey across the epic landscapes of the American Southwest.
Wenders’s fourth feature is one of his emblematic works — a touching road-movie tale of loss, longing, and existential questing.
A Parisian woman separates from her husband and begins adjusting to life alone in Wenders-collaborator Peter Handke's directorial debut.
A European auteur finds himself at odds with Hollywood sensibilities in Wenders’s sardonic, self-referential Golden Lion winner.
Six of Wenders's rarely-screened short films, dating 1967-1982, comprise this program.
This deeply emotional portrait of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado is Wenders's finest nonfiction work yet.
Angels perched atop the buildings of Berlin listen in on the innermost thoughts of mere mortals in Wim Wenders’s lovely, lyrical film.
Many consider this meditative, mesmerizingly beautiful road movie to be Wim Wenders’s supreme achievement!
VANCOUVER PREMIERE! This rarely-seen Director’s Cut, regarded by Wenders as definitive, is a wildly-ambitious science-fiction epic.
Wenders had his biggest hit in years — and his first-ever Academy Award nomination — with this 1999 music documentary.
The cities are Paris and Tokyo and the clothes are by Japanese fashion guru Yohji Yamamoto in Wenders’s impressionistic documentary.
Inspired by the cinema of Yasujiro Ozu, Wenders travelled to Tokyo in 1983 to find out if traces still remained of Ozu's world.