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Wrong Move

Wrong MoveIn the great Wim Wenders tradition,
  Wrong Move follows the life of a writer
  who has lost his way and is seeking
  inspiration from companionship —
  however bizarre and however brief
...”


THE OPENING SCENE OF WRONG MOVE is a typical Wim Wenders shot of a German town from a helicopter over pretty scenery with a marina. From a peaceful scene, there is frustration as an emotional Wilhelm (Rüdiger Vogler) thrusts his hand through a window pane. Then he licks his blood, as if he is determined to try anything or perhaps he is seeking reality…

His mother (Marianne Hoppe) tells Wilhelm she is selling out to a supermarket — he'll get some money, but he'll have to leave. She says: "Don't lose that unrest and discontent of yours. You'll need it if you want to write."

He rides away alone on a bicycle, a seemingly dejected figure, along the coast through a bleak landscape, riding across the sands. "I want to be a writer, but is that possible when I don't like people?" he asks himself before meeting a young woman, Janine (Lisa Kreuzer, billed as Elisabeth Kreuzer) in a dark wig. She takes off the wig and lets her blonde hair fly free, but Wilhelm doesn't want to have physical contact with her. He appears to have touched her world and to have walked away from it.

When he takes the suitcase his mother has packed for him, along with two books — Life of a Good-For-Nothing by Eichendorff; and Sentimental Education by Flaubert — she also offers her support to his freedom as a writer. "People with restricted professions," she says, "remind me of dried-up snails."

Handing him a ticket to Bonn, she asks him to keep in touch. He seems somewhat indifferent towards her. As the train pulls out of the station, he plans to use the journey across Germany for self-exploration and to find his voice as a writer. The introspective Wilhelm is seemingly without personality but nevertheless he soon attracts a following of off-beat characters.

On the train, Laertes (Hans Christian Blech) — who has a perpetually-bleeding nose and hides a dark secret that haunts him — and his waif-like teenaged companion Mignon (Nastassja Kinski), who is mute and appears drawn to Wilhelm, introduce themselves as entertainers and attach themselves to him. The strange ticket-collector gives Laertes the Nazi salute and Wilhelm somehow takes responsibility for their tickets. During the journey he is mesmerised by the beautiful, enigmatic actress Therese Farner (Hanna Schygulla) — whom he sees boarding another train — and he later receives a note from her with a telephone number.

A fellow guest at Wilhelm's hotel, would-be poet Bernhard Laundau (Peter Kern), engineers a situation where he can read his poems to Wilhelm, that eerily echo his own feelings — "why must there be so vast a space between me and the world?" — and he invites them all to the country house of one of his relatives but by chance they end up enjoying the hospitality of a stranger. They speak of loneliness, share each other's dreams and Wilhelm admits he has toyed with death; but, almost inevitably, there is a tragedy waiting in the wings…

Wrong Move sees Wenders reunited with playwright Peter Handke after their successful collaboration on The Goalkeeper's Fear Of The Penalty Kick, this time on a distinctly European, or rather German premise: a Handke screenplay adaptation of Goethe's 1796 Bildungsroman, Wilhelm Meister's Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship) set in 1970s West Germany with Rüdiger Vogler once again playing the lead. It is the second instalment of Wenders' acclaimed road movie trilogy (book-ended by Alice In The Cities and Kings Of The Road).

In contrast to Alice In The Cities, Goethe's novel and the Bildungsroman tradition, Wrong Move is perpetually bleak in its outlook and Vogler's Wilhelm does not experience any enlightenment during his travels through West Germany.

Movement in Wrong Move is motivated by Wilhelm's search for inspiration in his attempts to become a writer. However, every decision and direction seems to be a wrong one; and in the end Wilhelm has learned very little about himself.

Wrong Move enters a world of bleak lives, landscapes and buildings with unfulfilled characters who indulge in meaningless relationships and fruitless soul-searching — with a brilliant simile in the images of flickering television sets not tuned in. Wild, Wistful and
Wim-sical Wenders at his poignant best.

With Wrong Move, Wim Wenders flexes his talent as the master of the road movie genre and creates a fine character study of one man's alienation from the world around him. Wenders' images of trains are terrific — carrying people to unknown destinations; fleeting glimpses of strangers and the fact that the trains always return to the point they started from. Winner of seven German Film Awards in 1975 — Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Editing, Music and Screenplay — the film also features Ivan Desny as The Industrialist and Adolf Hanson (billed as Adolph Hansen) as Schaffner.

Wrong Move is Directed by Wim Wenders; Produced by Wim Wenders and Peter Genée; Screenplay (based on Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship) by Peter Handke; Director of Photography is Robby Müller; Edited by Peter Przygodda; Assistant Editor is Barbara von Weitershausen; Music by Jurgen Knieper; Original Sound by Martin Müller and Peter Kaiser; and Production Design by Heidi Lüdi.

Axion Films presents Wrong Move, a film by Wim Wenders, now available on DVD (released 14 July, 2008). Certificate: 15 | Running time: 100 minutes | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic | Audio content: Dolby Stereo 5.1 | Language: German with English subtitles | RRP: £15.99.

Bonus features: Director's commentary with Wim Wenders | Exclusive limited edition collector's booklet | Deleted scenes | Photo gallery.

"One of Wenders' most beautifully made projects… Ravishing… a real film-maker" — The Guardian

"Tantalising" — Time Out

"Special brilliance" — The Times

"One of Wenders' best movies… marvellous" — DVD Times

"Wrong Move enters a world of bleak lives, landscapes and buildings with unfulfilled characters who indulge in meaningless relationships and fruitless soul-searching — with
a brilliant simile in the images of flickering television sets not tuned in. Wild, Wistful and Wim-sical Wenders at his poignant best" — MotorBar