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Wings Of Desire

Wings Of DesireWim Wenders most metaphysical work,
  Wings Of Desire plays out a clever and
  touching storyline about a discontented
  guardian angel who longs to be human.
  Rated as
‘one of the best movies you can
, its available now on DVD...”

MADE IN 1987, just two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wings Of Desire features interesting aspects of the German capital although it is typically Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas; Alice In The Cities) in its execution, the subject matter is a little more offbeat than usual.

Beautifully considered, Wings Of Desire is a rumination on human existence and follows the restless Damiel (a wonderful portrayal by Bruno Ganz: The American Friend, Downfall) as he watches over the mortals who walk the streets of West Berlin, playing out their lives in complete ignorance of the guardian angels who walk among them, offering unseen comfort. Only children can see these celestial beings, although some adults sense a presence.

Shot in both black-and-white and colour to good effect, Wings Of Desire sees the afterlife as a monochrome world, like Michael Powell's A Matter Of Life And Death. Intriguingly, it is only the living that can see in glorious colour. Their lives, with their moments of joy and sorrow, are so movingly illustrated by Wim Wenders in this original film that was co-written with Peter Handke (The Goalkeeper's Fear Of The Penalty Kick, Wrong Move).

In a stroke of brilliance, Peter Falk (Columbo) is featured as himself, starring in a movie being shot in Germany. The film set provides additional interest for Damiel and his friend Cassiel (Otto Sandor) as they observe human life below them. And Peter Falk proves to be something of a revelation.

This exploration of characters allows the guardian angels to eavesdrop on the thoughts of individuals. There are bleak thoughts of dissatisfaction and despair; suicide and abandonment along with concern for others. We hear babies wailing, arguments and a lonely woman talking to her dog.

All the thoughts hit the guardian angels at once until they hone in on individuals — an aging poet (Curt Bois), lamenting the loss of familiar buildings in Berlin and having flashbacks of burning, bombed-out buildings; a dying man (Hans Martin Stier); a sad man (Elmar Wilms); a suicidal man (Sigurd Rachman); a young prostitute (Beatrice Manowski) who yearns for another life and mourns the death of the man who was to take care of her; and Peter Falk, who wonders whether he has become a better actor.

Wenders is a wizard with dialogue: "When the child was a child, it was a time of questions: Why am I me and why not you; Why am I here and not there…? Isn't life under the sun just a dream?"

Even guardian angels dream of better things. "Sometimes," says Damiel, "I'm fed up with my spiritual existence… It would be nice coming home after a long day to feed the cat like Philip Marlow… to be excited… to lie through one's teeth; to be able to enthuse for evil; to draw all the demons …. To take part in the world."

And when Damiel sees trapeze artiste Marion (Solveig Dommartin), he is enchanted by her. She is devastated when her trainer (Lajos Kovács, who coached the actress and choreographed Marion's act) tells her they are broke and the circus will be disbanded. The eloquent way in which she expresses her doubts and her fears — reflecting on how wonderful it would be to be loved — makes Damiel long for a life where he, too, could experience happiness and love.

Directed by Wim Wenders; the Screenplay is in collaboration with Peter Handke; First Assistant Director is Clare Denis; Producer and Editor is Peter Przygodda; Music is by Jürgen Knieper. There are also guest appearances from two bands who play in the Berlin clubs: Crime And The City Solution and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds.

Dedicated to "all the former angels, but especially to Yasujiro, François and Andrej", Wings Of Desire won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and remains one of the most vital films ever.

Axiom Films is delighted to announce the release of Wings Of Desire on DVD (released 28 July, 2008). Certificate: 12 | Running time: 122 minutes | Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic | Audio content: Stereo 2.0, optional 5.1 | Language: German with optional English subtitles | RRP: £15.99.

Bonus features: This ultimate limited edition includes a feature-length commentary with Wim Wenders and Peter Falk | 'Conversations on Wings Of Desire' featurette | Deleted scenes with optional commentary | The original theatrical trailer | Exclusive 20-page limited edition collectors' booklet.

"Remarkable… few films are so rich, so intriguing, or so ambitious." — Geoff Andrew, Time Out

"A masterpiece… delicately directed… magical" — The Guardian

"A romantic delight, a modern German fairy story, in which love conquers all" — The Sunday Times

"An extraordinary, haunting piece… a triumph for Wim Wenders" — 5 Stars, Empire

"One of the best movies you can see" — The Washington Post

"Wenders is a wizard with dialogue… Wings Of Desire… a clever and touching storyline of a discontented guardian angel who longs to be human" — MotorBar