Wings Of Desire (German, 1987)

4/3/11

Do angels exist?  Do they have human passions?  Can an angel trade in his or her mortality to live among humans?  The answers are found in ‘Wings Of Desire,’ Wim Wenders meditation on the human condition, garnering him the Best Director Cannes Film Festival in 1987.  

 
‘There are angels on the streets of Berlin. They walk along beside you.’  
And If you haven’t seen its American remake, City of Angels, that’s great. Ditch that lackluster of a film, and go for the original instead. 
 
The execution of this German movie is so beautifully done, like a work of art painted in a mixture of crisp black and white, plus vibrant color. Here, Bruno Ganz stands out as an angel who listens to people’s thoughts and gets curious by the emotions that only humans experience. 
 
Watch out also for an exceptional performance by Nick Cave, and Peter Falk (yes, Columbo) as a former angel who has ‘turned in his wings.’  Wings of Desire also contains one of the most poetic scripts ever told, which flawlessly complements its equally surreal visuals. 
 
Enthralling and thought-provoking, Wings of Desire is a feel good movie that everyone should watch. It brings you back to life more grateful and appreciative of even the simplest, most mundane things—stuff that you don’t normally give a damn. It simply makes you glad to be alive and to be capable of experiencing joys and pains, and everything that makes you human. 
 
Synopsis
 
A flock of angels silently watches over Berlin citizens, giving comfort to sad and grieving souls via their invisible touch. They can travel through the city undetected, listening to people's thoughts, watch their actions and examine their way of life. 
 
With zero feelings/emotions, these angels spend their days serenely observing, mostly incapable of mingling with humans. Though they can sometimes make their presence known in little ways, only children and fellow angels can actually see them. 
 
A curious angel, Damiel (Bruno Ganz), discovers Marion (Solveig Dommartin), an attractive yet depressed trapeze artist. As he watches over her, Damiel decides to sacrifice his immortality and become human, hoping to experience love while and experience what it’s like to be earth-bound. 
 
Guided by a companion, Cassiel (Otto Sander), Damiel experiences being alive, and finds realization of all his mortal desires in Marion. He also discovers that he is not alone in surrendering his angelic wings when he meets ex-angel and actor, Peter Falk (Peter Falk), who plays himself, shooting a film in Berlin.