Wings of Desire

(Der Himmel über Berlin)
West Germany/France 1987. Director: Wim Wenders
Cast: Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Solveig Dommartin, Curt Bois, Peter Falk

Angels perched atop the buildings of Berlin listen in to the innermost thoughts of mere mortals in Wim Wenders’s lovely, lyrical Wings of Desire, a soaring high-point of the famed German director’s cinema, and a highly moving, melancholic elegy to a Berlin still divided. Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) are two brooding, compassionate angels who eavesdrop on the secret pains and fears of ordinary peopled going about their daily business in the city. When Damiel falls for a beautiful trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin), he decides to renounce his immortality to return to earth as a human, hoping to attain a love that will transcend life in the heavens. The stunning cinematography — crisp black-and-white, lurid Technicolor — is by French great Henri Alekan, whose many credits include Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. Inspired by the poems of Rilke, and dedicated to Ozu, Truffaut, and “other fallen angels,” Wings of Desire earned Wenders Best Director honours at Cannes in 1987. “Remarkable ... A film about the Fall and the Wall, it’s full of astonishingly hypnotic images ... Few films are so rich, so intriguing, or so ambitious” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out). B&W and colour, 35mm, in German with English subtitles. 127 mins.

REVIEWS

"Few films are so rich, so intriguing, or so ambitious."

Time Out | full review

"The film evokes a mood of reverie, elegy and meditation."

Roger Ebert | full review

"A beautiful, literate and romantic piece of cinema."

Empire | full review