By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on November 28, 2009)
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, it is akin to the unenviable task of describing color to a blind person.
I mean, if I told you it’s about a trench coat-wearing angel (Bruno Ganz) who hovers over Berlin, monitoring people’s thoughts and taking notes, who spots a beautiful trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin) 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 also told you it features Peter Falk, playing himself, you’d laugh and say “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 (greatly enhancing Henri Alekan’s gorgeous B & W cinematography) and a plethora of extras.