DVD Reissue: Wings of Desire ****

By Dennis Hartley

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Wings of Desire – The Criterion Collection DVD (2-disc)

I’ve never sat down and tried to compile a Top 10 list of my favorite movies of all time (I’ve just seen too many damn movies…I’d be staring at my computer screen for weeks, if my head didn’t explode first) but I’m pretty sure that Wim Wenders’ 1987 stunner would be a shoo-in. Like 2001 or Koyaanisqatsi, if you try to summarize this film in a paragraph or two for someone who has never seen it, it’s like describing color to a blind man. I mean, if I told you it’s about a trench coat-wearing angel who hovers over Berlin, monitoring people’s thoughts and taking notes, who spots a beautiful trapeze artist one day and follows her home, wallows around in her deepest longings, watches her undress, then falls in love and decides to chuck the mantle of immortality and become human…well, you’d probably say “Dennis, that sounds like a story about a creepy stalker.” And if I threw in the fact that it also features Peter Falk, playing himself, you’d say “OK, where’s the hidden camera? I’m being punk’d, right?” But it’s more than that. It’s about everything, and nothing…now I sound pretentious. OK, maybe you should rent it first, then decide if it’s worth owning. Personally, I own two copies, MGM’s original DVD issue and the new 2009 Criterion edition, which has a markedly improved transfer and a plethora of extras.

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