Berliner Zeitgeist – Wings of Desire
Film screening at SVA
a film by Wim Wenders
Sunday Dec 1st 6pm
Wings of Desire (German: Der Himmel über Berlin, lit. ‘Heaven Over Berlin’) is a 1987 romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. The film is about invisible, immortal angels who populate Berlin and listen to the thoughts of its human inhabitants, comforting the distressed. Even though the city is densely populated, many of the people are isolated or estranged from their loved ones. One of the angels, played by Bruno Ganz, falls in love with a beautiful, lonely trapeze artist, played by Solveig Dommartin. The angel chooses to become mortal so that he can experience human sensory pleasures, ranging from enjoying food to touching a loved one, and so that he can discover human love with the trapeze artist.
Inspired by art depicting angels visible around West Berlin, at the time enclaved by the Berlin Wall, Wenders and author Peter Handke conceived of the story and continued to develop the screenplay throughout the French and German co-production. The film was shot by Henri Alekan in both colour and a sepia-toned black-and-white, the latter being used to represent the world as seen by the angels. The cast includes Otto Sander, Curt Bois and Peter Falk.
For Wings of Desire, Wenders won awards for Best Director at both the Cannes Film Festival and European Film Awards. The film was a critical and financial success, and academics have interpreted it as a statement of the importance of cinema, libraries, the circus, or German unity, containing New Age, religious, secular or other themes.