Wim Wenders

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Wim Wenders is one of most important and influential directors of German and international cinema. Born in Düsseldorf in 1945, he began his film career in 1967 with the short film “Scenari”. Over the next few decades, he directed a series of films that explored themes such as loneliness, alienation, love and the search for a sense of belonging.

His best-known films include:

  • “Alice in the Cities” (1974), a road movie with Bruno Ganz and Rüdiger Vogler which tells the story of the meeting between two men in search of a sense of belonging;
  • “Paris, Texas” (1984), a drama starring Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski that tells the story of a man trying to find his missing wife and son;
  • “Wings of Desire” (1987), a fantastic film with Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander that tells the story of two angels who observe the lives of human beings;
  • “Until the End of the World” (1991), a science fiction film starring William Hurt and Solveig Dommartin that tells the story of a man trying to save his beloved from a deadly disease;
  • “Buena Vista Social Club” (1999), a documentary that tells the story of a group of Cuban musicians who achieved international success.

Wenders is an eclectic director who has experimented with different genres, from comedy to drama, from documentary to musical. His films are characterized by an expressive use of photography and a strong attention to existential themes.

Wenders is also an important figure in the independent cinema. He founded the production company “Road Movies” and supported numerous young directors. In 2002, he was awarded the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

His influence on cinema was profound and contributed to the renewal of German and international cinema. His films have been the subject of studies and analysis by critics and academics around the world.

Biography

Wim-Wenders

Wim Wenders was born in Düsseldorf on 14 August 1945. His father was a lawyer and his mother a housewife. Wenders grew up in a conservative Catholic family.

In 1962, Wenders moved to Berlin to study sociology. However, he soon abandoned his studies to devote himself to cinema. In 1967, he made his first short film, “Scenari”.

In 1970, Wenders directed his first feature film, “Scenarios”. The film is a drama set in East Germany and tells the story of a young man who tries to escape from the communist regime.

International success came in 1974 with “Alice in the Cities”. The film is a road movie which tells the story of the meeting between two men in search of a sense of belonging. “Alice in the Cities” wins the FIPRESCI Award at the Cannes Film Festival and launches Wenders as one of the most promising directors of European cinema.

In the following years, Wenders directed a series of films that explored themes such as loneliness, alienation, love and the search for a sense of belonging. Among these are “False Movement” (1975), “Kings of Road” (1976), “The American Friend” (1977) and “Paris, Texas” (1984).

“Paris, Texas” is considered one of Wenders’ cinema masterpieces. The film tells the story of a man who tries to find his missing wife and son. “Paris, Texas” wins the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for best original screenplay.

In 1987, Wenders directed “Wings of Desire”. The film tells the story of two angels who observe the lives of human beings. “Wings of Desire” is an international success and wins the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

In the 1990s, Wenders continued to explore different genres, from comedy to drama, from documentary to musical. Among his most important films of this period are “Until the End of the World” (1991), “Buena Vista Social Club” (1999) and “The American Friend” (1977).

“Buena Vista Social Club” is a documentary which tells the story of a group of Cuban musicians who achieved international success. The film is a worldwide success and wins the Oscar for best documentary.

In 2002, Wenders was awarded the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

In the following years, Wenders continues to direct films and documentaries. Among his most recent works are “Palermo Shooting” (2008), “Pina” (2011), “Every Thing Will Be Fine” (2015) and “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” (2018).

Wenders is a photography enthusiast and has published several photo books. He is a huge music fan and has directed several music documentaries, including “Buena Vista Social Club” and “Pina”. He is an advocate of human rights and has directed several films that address social issues, such as “Paris, Texas” and “Wings of Desire.”

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Film

Wim-Wenders

Summer in the City (1970)

Plot: A young American photographer named Philip Winter travels to West Berlin to report on the city. During his stay, Philip meets a series of characters who help him understand the complexity of the city and post-war German society.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of West Berlin.

The Goalkeeper’s Fear Before the Penalty Kick (1972)

Plot: Toni Schumacher is a soccer goalkeeper who suffers from a panic attack during a crucial match. The film follows Toni as he tries to overcome his fear and get back to playing football.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Scarlet Letter (1973)

Plot: The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story follows Hester Prynne, a woman sentenced to wear a scarlet letter as punishment for committing adultery.

Reception: The film was a commercial success, but received mixed reviews from critics. Some critics praised Senta Berger’s performance as Hester Prynne, while others criticized Wenders’ direction.

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Alice in the Cities (1973)

Wim-Wenders-films

Plot: The film is a road movie that tells the story of the meeting between a young German reporter and an American girl. The two travel together across Europe, searching for a sense of belonging.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the FIPRESCI Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Wrong Move (1975)

Plot: The film is a drama set in West Germany. The story follows a group of characters who become intertwined in a series of mysterious events.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to create an atmosphere of suspense.

Kings of the Road (1976)

Plot: The film is a road movie that tells the story of the meeting between two friends who meet again after many years. The two travel together across Europe, searching for a sense of belonging.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the essence of friendship.

The American Friend (1977)

Plot: The film is a thriller set in West Germany. The story follows a young American photographer who gets involved in a dangerous game with a gangster.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the FIPRESCI Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Hammett (1982)

Plot: The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. The story follows Sam Spade, a private investigator who becomes involved in a murder investigation.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Frederic Forrest’s performance as Sam Spade.

The State of Things (1982)

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Plot: The film is a drama set in a theater in Düsseldorf. The story follows a group of actors and technicians working on the production of a play.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of the theater.

Paris, Texas (1984)

Plot: Travis is a man who has been wandering the desert for four years, unable to speak. He is found by a drifter and taken to Los Angeles, where his brother Walt tries to help him rebuild his life. Travis discovers that his wife Jane is living in a motel with their son Hunter, and tries to reunite with them.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. It is considered one of Wenders’ cinema masterpieces.

Wings of Desire (1987)

Plot: Two angels wander the city of Berlin, observing the life of human beings without being able to participate in it. One of the angels, Damiel, falls in love with a mortal woman, Marion.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It is considered one of Wenders’ cinema masterpieces.

Until the End of the World (1991)

Plot: Claire is a young woman who travels the world with a group of musicians. During her journey, Claire meets a man who has lost his memory. The two fall in love and begin searching for the man’s past.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the Audience Award at the Cannes Film Festival. It is considered one of Wenders’ most ambitious films.

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So Far So Close (1993)

Plot: The film is a trilogy of short films set in three different cities: Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo. The short films tell the story of people who are searching for a sense of belonging.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the essence of three different cities.

Lisbon Story (1994)

Plot: Robert is a sound engineer who is sent to Lisbon to record the sound of an orchestra. During his stay, Robert meets a mysterious woman who tells him a love story.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of Lisbon.

Beyond the Clouds (1995)

Plot: The film is a joint work by Wenders and Michelangelo Antonioni. The film is divided into two parts: the first is directed by Wenders and tells the story of a director who tries to make a film; the second is directed by Antonioni and tells the story of a man who tries to find love again.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the essence of Antonioni’s cinema.

The End of Violence (1997)

Plot: The film is a thriller set in an American city. The story follows a man who is involved in a series of seemingly senseless murders.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to create an atmosphere of suspense.

The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)

Plot: The film is a thriller set in a Los Angeles hotel. The story follows a man who falls in love with a woman who finds herself on the run from the police.

Reception: The film was received negatively by critics, who criticized the screenplay and Wenders’ direction.

Twelve Miles to Trona (2002)

Plot: The film is a short film set in the California desert. The story follows a man trying to reach a distant city.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the essence of the desert.

Land of Plenty (2004)

Plot: The film is a drama set in the United States. The story follows a group of people living in a rural area of ​​the country.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the essence of rural American life.

Don’t Come Knocking (2005)

Plot: The film is a drama set in the United States. The story follows a man who returns home after many years of absence.

Reception: The film was received negatively by critics, who criticized the screenplay and Wenders’ direction.

War in Peace (2007)

Plot: The film is a short film set in a German city. The story follows a man who is looking for a movie to watch.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of a German city.

Palermo Shooting (2008)

Plot: The film is a thriller set in Palermo, Sicily. The story follows a photographer who is sent to the city to do a photo shoot.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of Palermo.

Person to Person (2008)

Plot: The film is a short film set in Los Angeles. The story follows a man who tries to contact a woman he met on the internet.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of Los Angeles.

To See or Not to See (2012)

Plot: The film is a short film set in Lisbon. The story follows a man who tries to capture a perfect moment.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of Lisbon.

Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015)

Plot: The film is a drama set in Germany. The story follows a man who tries to rebuild his life after losing his wife and son in a car accident.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised William Hurt’s performance and Wenders’ ability to tackle difficult subjects.

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The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez (2016)

Plot: The film is a drama set in Spain. The story follows a man who tries to win back the love of his ex-wife.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ cinematography and his ability to capture the atmosphere of Aranjuez.

Submergence (2017)

Plot: The film is a romantic drama set in Antarctica. The story follows two people who meet and fall in love during a scientific expedition.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised the actors’ performances and Wenders’ ability to capture the beauty of Antarctica.

Perfect Days (2023)

Plot: The film is a drama set in Germany. The story follows a man and a woman who meet and fall in love during a bicycle trip.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised the actors’ performances and Wenders’ ability to capture the beauty of Germany.

Documentaries

Lightning on the Water (1980)

Plot: The film is a documentary about actor and director Nick Nolte. The film follows Nolte as he makes the filmAtlantic City (1980) and while preparing for a role in a John Cassavetes film.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Nolte’s performance and Wenders’ direction.

Docu Drama (1984)

Plot: The film is a documentary about the film production processParis, Texas (1984). The film follows Wenders and his team as they shoot the film in Los Angeles and Texas.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ direction and his ability to capture the creative process of a film.

Tokyo-Ga (1985)

Wim-Wenders-films

Plot: The film is a documentary about Wenders’ trip to Tokyo to learn about the city and the work of Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu. The film follows Wenders as he visits places linked to Ozu and talks to people who knew him.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ direction and his ability to capture the essence of Tokyo and Ozu’s work.

Notebook on Cities and Clothes (1989)

Plot: The film is a documentary that explores the relationship between fashion and the city. The film follows Wenders as he visits different cities around the world and meets designers, stylists and everyday people.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ direction and his ability to capture the beauty of cities and the creativity of fashion.

A Trick of Light (1995)

Plot: The film is a documentary on the story of the Skladanowsky brothers, inventors of the cinema. The film follows the lives of the brothers, from their birth in Germany to their death.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ direction and his ability to tell a fascinating story.

Lumière et compagnie  (1995)

Plot: The film is a collective documentary that celebrates the centenary of the invention of cinema. The film features short films directed by some of the world’s leading directors, including Wim Wenders, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised the quality of the shorts and their ability to celebrate cinema.

Willie Nelson at the Teatro (1998)

Plot: The film is a documentary about country singer Willie Nelson’s concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The film follows the concert and interviews with Nelson and other musicians.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Nelson’s performance and Wenders’ direction.

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

Plot: The film is a documentary about the history of the Cuban musical group Buena Vista Social Club. The film follows the group as they prepare for a world tour.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the Oscar for best documentary. It is considered one of the best music documentaries ever made.

Invisible Crimes (2007)

Plot: The film is a short film that explores the theme of invisible crimes, or crimes that are not reported to the authorities. The film follows a group of people who have suffered invisible crimes and who seek justice.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised its important message.

Pina (2011)

Plot: The film is a documentary on the choreographer Pina Bausch. The film follows Bausch as he creates and presents his works, and as he prepares for a world tour.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Documentary. It is considered one of the best dance documentaries ever made.

The Salt of the Earth (2014)

Wim-Wenders-films

Plot: The film is a documentary on the life of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. The film follows Salgado as he travels the world, documenting the beauty and suffering of nature and humanity.

Reception: The film was an international success, winning the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It is considered one of the best documentaries ever made.

Pope Francis – A Man of his Word (2018)

Plot: The film is a documentary about Pope Francis. The film follows Francesco as he travels the world, meeting people of different cultures and religions.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised the intimate portrayal of Francesco.

Anselm (2023)

Plot: The film is a documentary on the German painter Anselm Kiefer. The film follows Kiefer as he works in his studio and reflects on his art.

Reception: The film was received positively by critics, who praised Wenders’ direction and his ability to capture Kiefer’s artistry.

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