Wim Wenders is known as a unique contemporary film auteur, who “has shaped our living memory of cinema”, says Dieter Kosslick, the Director of the Berlin International Film Festival. In February 2015 the Oscar-nominated filmmaker will be awarded the Honorary Golden Bear Award for his lifetime achievements.
Current president of European Film Academy, Wenders was born in Dusseldorf in the summer of 1945. Having tried all kinds of studies – from medicine to philosophy, he finally decided to move to Paris to become a painter.
This didn’t really work out, but it did made Wenders who he is now – during the time he spent in Paris, the auteur became fascinated by cinema and he often saw up to 5 movies a day. Upon his return to Germany in 1967, he got into University of Television and Film in Munich, where he made several short films and SUMMER IN THE CITY – his first feature length black and white film. The film explores the themes of aimless searching and persistence wandering – all set in Berlin, a city that often becomes additional uncredited character in Wenders’ movies.
He spend 1970s making roughly a film every year, the most successful ones are THE AMERICAN FRIEND and ALICE IN THE CITIES. The latter is a part of Wenders ‘Road Movies’ trilogy along with THE WRONG MOVE and KINGS OF THE ROAD. Two films of the trilogy are shot in black and white, which has been one of Wenders’ trademarks for a long time. Peaceful landscape shots, disturbed by the noise of a vehicle – a train or a car, where a seat is occupied by a troubled character, wandering in space and thoughts, hitting the road with no destination. These topics are usual in his films giving the feeling of loneliness and nostalgia.
PARIS, TEXAS, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is another Wenders’ classic for which he won Palme d’Or in 1984. A man leaves the desert in Texas and attempts to revive his relationship with his brother, his son and track down his wife. Once again, dry, bleak landscapes and never ending roads fill the screen contrasting the subtle performances of Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski.
Wenders has gained worldwide recognition with his films WINGS OF DESIRE and its sequel FARAWAY, SO CLOSE! These films follow the lives of angels, who are meandering of the streets of Berlin, making notes on daily life of the mortals. “When did the time begin, and where does space end? Isn’t life under the sun just a dream?” Both, humans and angels, love life in a somewhat nostalgic and wistful way, which is typical in Wenders’ films.
In early 1980s Wenders started making documentaries and he continues to do so up to this day. One of his latest documentaries, PINA, was nominated for Academy and BAFTA awards for best documentary in 2012. Though a movie is called a tribute to the famous Pina Bausch, the viewer can still feel director’s touch: “What are we longing for? Where does all this yearning come from?”
Not only is Wenders a notable filmmaker, he is also a recognised photographer. He has done hundreds of exhibitions as well as released many photography books, which include not only his pictures, but film stills as well.
As Wenders says himself “Sex and violence was never really my cup of tea; I was always more into sax and violins. “ Here at ÉCU we are delighted to see such a talented director recognized for his passion and creative visions, which has made him a classic indie filmmaker and we hope to see more of him soon!