Film Angels Fall Flat

DAVID BREMER and Ched Myers make the case ("The Flutter of History," July 1994) that Wim Wenders' films, especially "Wings of Desire" and "Faraway So Close," are profound theological meditations from a director who has assumed Bergman's mantle. Now, we all enjoyed "Wings of Desire," even if the way the angels were able to make the humans they listened in on happy was puerile. (Perhaps the film's strongest moment was the exception that proves the rule: A man killing himself by jumping from a high building.) But as for Wenders other movies, since about 1976-these range from the mediocre ("Paris, Texas") to the hilariously inept ("An American Friend") to the embarrassingly long, boring, and stupid ("Until the End of the World"). With fame and money, Wenders can now afford to indulge himself by producing "art" padded out with expensive soundtracks by big stars and any (and every) location he wishes-but money can buy you neither love nor watchability. Which brings us to "Faraway So Close." Bremer and Myers lament its failure at theaters and wonder, amusingly, if the explanation might be that "a second film with these characters [Ganz and Sander as the angels, Peter Falk as himself, etc.] revealed that Wenders meant us to take his angelic protagonists seriously." Let me propose another explanation: The U.S. public, well used by now to rehashed sequels, have finally begun to see through the pretentious Wenders formula. They-we-don't desire his Wings any more.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 1994
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