REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

“Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the ruins of West Germany with its now-crumbling wall soon to come down lies promise and hope rather than despair. There’s a tiny, infectious grin perpetually on his lips responding to the small moments of life…

Read More

REVIEW: Paris, Texas [1984]

“Don’t go yet” The first word my mind conjured after watching Wim Wenders‘ Paris, Texas was honesty. It’s delivered from lead Harry Dean Stanton all the way down to Robby Müller‘s gorgeous cinematography of untouched Mojave Desert isolation and graffiti-filled urban concrete. Nothing appears inauthentic and that’s not an easy accomplishment when you think about how this road-trip adventure steeped in Americana was constructed through the eyes of a foreigner. Credit screenwriters L.M. Kit Carson and Sam Shepard for supplying the correct aesthetic on the page, but the success or…

Read More

REVIEW: Alice in den Städten [Alice in the Cities] [1974]

“The picture never shows what it seems” After directing three films he didn’t believe possessed a voice all his own, number four became Wim Wenders‘ make-it-or-break-it moment as far as whether to keep moving forward with cinema or to choose another path. Considering he’s still working today, we know the commercial and personal success Alice in den Städten [Alice in the Cities] provided. The first of his “Road Movie Trilogy” (although he would continue the motif throughout his oeuvre afterwards too), the film had its hiccups as the script written…

Read More

REVIEW: 20,000 Days on Earth [2014]

“And if that doesn’t do it—you shoot the clown” I must have been nineteen or twenty when I was first introduced to Nick Cave‘s music. As a college kid trying to broaden my horizons cinematically with “classics” from foreign auteurs, I popped in Wim Wenders‘ Wings of Desire for reasons I no longer recall. While a brilliant film regardless, I could not shake the violence in Cave’s stage presence or the intensity of his songs against the romantic plot thrusting my ears into its wake. So even though I knew…

Read More

REVIEW: For Ellen [2012]

“She didn’t complain or send the law after me or anything” Looking to reconcile her feelings about being a successful parent, wife, and filmmaker with her child turning two, writer/director So Yong Kim decided to delve into the all too common reality that some only can do so when it is too late. Taking from her own experience growing up fatherless—only having ever seen him once at the age of five—her film For Ellen finds itself attempting to not decipher why someone would leave, but instead show the moment when…

Read More

REVIEW: The Proposition [2006]

“Australia … what fresh hell is this?” Late nineteenth century Australia seems to have been quite a hellish place indeed if we are to believe what Nick Cave and John Hillcoat have given us here. From the unflinching, seeming authenticity, the weight of conflicting emotion on the part of each and every human being portrayed, and the sheer beauty of it—pain, suffering, and all—I won’t be the one to dispute it. I must admit that I have never seen a western before. None of the classics—John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sergio…

Read More