Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire

4.3 18
Director: Wim Wenders

Cast: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Peter Falk


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Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) are angels who watch over the city of Berlin. They don't have harps or wings (well, they usually don't have wings) and they prefer overcoats to gossamer gowns. But they can travel unseen through the city, listening to people's thoughts, watching their actions and studying their lives. While they can make their presence… See more details below

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Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) are angels who watch over the city of Berlin. They don't have harps or wings (well, they usually don't have wings) and they prefer overcoats to gossamer gowns. But they can travel unseen through the city, listening to people's thoughts, watching their actions and studying their lives. While they can make their presence felt in small ways, only children and other angels can see them. They spend their days serenely observing, unable to interact with people, and they feel neither pain nor joy. One day, Damiel finds his way into a circus and sees Marion (Solveig Dommartin), a high-wire artist, practicing her act; he is immediately smitten. After the owners of the circus tell the company that the show is out of money and must disband, Marion sinks into a funk, shuffling back to her trailer to ponder what to do next. As he watches her, Damiel makes a decision: he wants to be human, and he wants to be with Marion, to lift her spirits and, if need be, to share her pain. Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire is a remarkable modern fairy tale about the nature of being alive. The angels witness the gamut of human emotions, and they experience the luxury of simple pleasures (even a cup of coffee and a cigarette) as ones who've never known them. From the angels' viewpoint, Berlin is seen in gorgeous black-and-white -- strikingly beautiful but unreal; when they join the humans, the image shifts to rough but natural-looking color, and the waltz-like grace of the angels' drift through the city changes to a harsher rhythm. Peter Falk appears as himself, revealing a secret that we may not have known about the man who played Columbo, and there's also a brief but powerful appearance by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Wings of Desire hinges on the intangible and elusive, and it builds something beautiful from those qualities.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Unconventional angels in gray overcoats wander West Berlin in German director Wim Wenders's magnificent Wings of Desire. Scripted by Wenders and German novelist Peter Handke, Wings of Desire follows two angels, Daniel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander), as Daniel struggles with his desire to take the plunge into earthly existence, inspired by his attraction to a beautiful French trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin). Peter Falk appears in the film too, playing himself in a most unusual performance. The angels can hear the thoughts of everyone around them, and the disparate voices recounting their private agonies and hopes form a poetic aural collage. Jürgen Knieper provides the gorgeous original score, supplemented with onscreen musical performances by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Crime and the City Solution. In three languages -- German, French, and English -- with both color and sumptuous black-and-white sequences courtesy of legendary cinematographer Henri Alekan, Wings of Desire is at once charming, profound, tragic, and joyous
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
After seven years in the U.S., New German Cinema director Wim Wenders returned to Germany for this meditation on existence, mortality, time, and Berlin, the city in which it is set. Co-written with frequent collaborator Peter Handke, the odyssey of two guardian angels becomes a means for Wenders to examine poetically the fractured "soul" of the still-divided Berlin. Mixing black-and-white and color, and aerial photography with street-level shooting, Wenders contrasts the contemplative distance of the angels with the emotional vicissitudes of daily life. Damiel's desire to trade his wings for a chance at full-color human romance with a circus performer becomes a descent into a forward-moving present that threatens pain as well as potential joy. The fall of the Berlin Wall only two years later makes Wings of Desire seem more prescient than obsolete. Praised for its imaginative lyricism, the film won Wenders the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival; the 1993 sequel Faraway, So Close was not as well-received, and the film was Hollywoodized as City of Angels in 1998.

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Product Details

Release Date:
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[Wide Screen]
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Special Features

Disc One - Audio Commentary featuring Wenders and Actor Peter Falk - Trailers; ; Disc Two - The Angels Among Us (2003), A Documentary featuring interviews with Wenders, Falk, Actors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander, Writer Peter Handke, And Composer Jürgen Knieper - "Wim Wenders Berlin Jan. 87," from an Episode of the French Television Program Cinéma Cinémas, including on-set footage - Interview with Director Of Photography Henri Alekan - Deleted Scenes and Outtakes, Excerpts from the Film Alekan la lumière (1985) and Ganz and Sander's Remembrance: Film for Curt Bois (1982), Notes and Photos by Art Directors Heidi and Toni Lüdi

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bruno Ganz Damiel
Solveig Dommartin Marion
Peter Falk Himself
Otto Sander Cassiel
Curt Bois Homer
Hans-Martin Stier The Dying Man
Beatrice Manowski Young Prostitute
Lajos Kovács Marion's coach
Peter Werner Manager
Paul Busch Circus
Didier Flamand Angel at the library
Olivier Picot Air-raid shelter
Dirk Vogeley On the highway
Mick Harvey Crime & the city solution
Nick Cave Himself
Blixa Bargeld Member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Patrick Kreuzer Actor
Ulrike Schirm Actor

Technical Credits
Wim Wenders Director,Co-producer,Screenwriter
Henri Alékan Cinematographer
Anatole Dauman Co-producer
Claire Denis Asst. Director
Peter Handke Screenwriter
Monika Jacobs Costumes/Costume Designer
Jürgen Knieper Score Composer
Heidi Ludi Production Designer
Joachim von Mengershausen Associate Producer
Peter Przygodda Editor
Ingrid Windisch Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Winds Of Desire
1. "When The Child Was A Child" [10:46]
2. On This Day [5:28]
3. The Library [6:06]
4. An Angel Passes By [8:32]
5. "The Carny" [5:03]
6. "As I Came Up The Mountain" [7:58]
7. Borders [4:18]
8. A Hat That Fits The Face [7:38]
9. Circus Alekan [5:20]
10. Do You Remember? [5:17]
11. Angel Fragments [4:24]
12. Evening Performance [9:27]
13. Crime And The City Solution [4:37]
14. "I Can't See You, But I Know You're Here" [4:21]
15. Descent [9:17]
16. Everything! [8:45]
17. "From Her To Eternity" [4:51]
18. No Greater Story [3:08]
1. Return To Berlin, A Planet Of Its Own [10:46]
2. Handke's Dialogue Islands [5:28]
3. The Childlike Spirit Of Henri Alekan [6:06]
4. Working Without A Net [8:32]
5. Living In A Black-And-White World [5:03]
6. Curt And Otto [7:58]
7. Everything Is Gone Now [4:18]
8. This Is The Paris, Texas Man! [7:38]
9. Thinking In Black And White [5:20]
10. Do Angels Have Grandmothers? [5:17]
11. The Angels' Nightmares [4:24]
12. The End Of The Film Before [9:27]
13. Ponytails [4:37]
14. The Ruins Of Anhalter Banhof [4:21]
15. The Wall vs. Thierry Noir [9:17]
16. The Unfinished City [8:45]
17. Talking To Someone Who's Not There [4:51]
18. On Peter Przygodda [3:08]
19. The Dialogue On Love [12:15]

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