Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: Der Himmel Uber Berlin
West Germany/France, 1987. Road Movies Filmproduktion, Argos Films, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Wim Wenders Stiftung. Screenplay by Wim Wenders, co-writer Peter Handke, screenplay contributor Richard Reitinger. Cinematography by Henri Alekan. Produced by Anatole Dauman, Wim Wenders. Music by Jurgen Knieper. Production Design by Heidi Ludi. Costume Design by Monika Jacobs. Film Editing by Peter Przygodda.
A masterpiece directed with intelligence and style by Wim Wenders, starring Bruno Ganz as a wistful angel named Damiel who wanders Berlin attending to the spiritual needs of people whose souls need a lift, all the while wishing he was human himself. When he meets a beautiful trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin), he decides that nothing but life on earth will make him happy. He gets his dream realized when mortal Peter Falk (playing himself) points out to him that he was once an angel who chose to fall from the sky and become human, and that Damiel can do the same. Otto Sander is the careful companion who watches out for Damiel after he has taken this giant leap. Wenders’ direction is absolutely breathtaking, with gorgeous black-and-white photography by legendary cinematography by Henri Alekan, poetic dialogue that is never too overdone and a score that is haunting to say the very least. The library scene is my personal favourite (and is copied very well in Brad Silberling’s American remake, City of Angels). Also rent the excellent sequel Faraway, So Close with Nastassja Kinski and Willem Dafoe.
The Criterion Collection: #490
Cannes Film Festival Award: Best Director (Wim Wenders)
European Film Awards: Best European Supporting Actor (Curt Bois); Best European Director (Wim Wenders)
Nominations: Best European Film; Special Aspect