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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:39 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Xploited stocks it... can someone with the set provide any screen-caps?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:24 pm 

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Here's some:

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:27 pm 
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Thank you very much for those, quality looks excellent, will definitely be picking this up!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:15 pm 

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How does the quality of the German version compare with the Italian version Xploited used to carry and is now out of print?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:14 pm 

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You can see what DVDBeaver had to say about the Italian edition here


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:03 am 
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I haven't seen the German edition, but the Italian is completely fine to me (and the bitrate isn't so low as the Beaver would make you believe, 6,17 is not bad at all) and it has a lot more extras. I've seen the German for about only 10 Euros recently, so that cheaper price might be considered. All the German discs in the Wenders edition were director supervised and they all look brilliant. But so does the Italian.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:59 am 
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I had a nice, long double feature of the director's cut of Until the End of the World and Don't Come Knocking tonite. Don't Come Knocking was quite cute but I liked it more than most from what I've gathered. The jury's still out of the five-hour Until the End of the World, but I was glad to at least have been able to see it in the intended length, and the DVD presentation was gorgeous.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 6:56 pm 
domino harvey wrote:
Don't Come Knocking was quite cute but I liked it more than most from what I've gathered.

I have mixed emotions about this film. That is, not mixed personal emotions, I loved it myself, but I'm not really sure how good it was. I've found that often times when I watch films by my favorite directors (Wenders is definitely a top 10-er for me), I have a substantial bias in their favor. Add to that the fact that it is written by and stars Sam Shepard, one of my absolute favorite artists, and I was pretty much guaranteed to like it so take my recommendation with a grain of salt.

Sam Shepard continues to embody the most ideal qualities of a consummate American West figure. He's tough and grizzled, rough and masculine, and yet he is sensitive and introspective and an endlessly creative historical presence in American cinema and stage. The cinematography was fantastic (many locations and scenery straight out of Wenders' book of photography Pictures from the Surface of the Earth). Oh, and I liked a lot of the music too, it was a very musical film like many of Wim's. It was interesting and conceptualized perfectly. The overall tone of the film was very consistent and nostalgically powerful. It's always amazing to me that a German can make such quintessentially American films. Maybe it's because of his romantic ideal of what America represents to many foreigners (or used to). Perhaps it's a slightly naive sentimentality that paints such a rosy picture of our landscapes and cultures. I don't know what it is exactly, but America has never looked better than through the eye of this European master.

Speaking of sentimentality, that is where I believe this film may have a misstep or two. It's melodramatic quite often and many forced emotions are unsuccessfully wrung from several scenes that just don't work on many levels. In fact the final scene kinda crossed the line into schmaltz for me.

Overall, the film really endeared itself to me despite this though.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:13 pm 
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Finally got around to seeing Faraway, So Close! and while I was aware of the film's reputation, I thought that since my taste with Wenders is pretty idiosyncratic (I believe his two masterpieces to be Wrong Move and Land of Plenty), maybe I'd find another hidden treasure with this one. Nope. It's almost like he filmed a first draft.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:24 pm 
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I have been meaning to pick up copies of Wenders' early road movies -- Alice In den Städten, Falsche Bewegung and Im Lauf der Zeit -- (for ages, really, but now particularly) in order to view in tandem with the '70s list project. Unfortunately, the release of the films in Australia did not meet with much excitement around here due to different transfer errors.

So, I am now wondering, if anyone can help determine which edition to go with of these films. Apparently Axiom in UK will release them sometime soon with subtitles, but probably not before the end of May. Then there are several releases of these films in Germany, and I am prepared to do without subtitles. Any thoughts from our German friends?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:44 pm 
The Australian versions are fine. ALICE is grainy but that is due to the source print. I have no problem watching it despite the earlier ''tyre track throughout" comments (which I believe are not as bad as others thought at the time of release). No one has yet proved that the German DVD is any different to the R4. WRONG MOVE is excellent as is KINGS OF THE ROAD [which has its subtitle glitch now corrected]. The last film is not strictly 1.66:1 but the cropping is minor and not even really noticable except to freeks like me (and I am happy with it). The extras: on site footage and deleted scenes match those released in Germany. I have compared the 16:9 WRONG MOVE to the original 4:3 and can say that the film is probably now as Wenders wants it. The 4:3 version was not strictly open matte but no severe cropping is in evidence on the 16:9 version [apart from the top of the frame] extra material is now viewable on both sides.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:57 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Finally got around to seeing Faraway, So Close! and while I was aware of the film's reputation, I thought that since my taste with Wenders is pretty idiosyncratic (I believe his two masterpieces to be Wrong Move and Land of Plenty), maybe I'd find another hidden treasure with this one. Nope. It's almost like he filmed a first draft.

I've read a transcript of a Q&A before where a viewer stood up and asked Wenders if he shot with a first draft (or something along those lines). I believe Wenders replied that he began shooting with no draft at all, just some ideas.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:16 pm 
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Scharphedin2 wrote:
I have been meaning to pick up copies of Wenders' early road movies -- Alice In den Städten, Falsche Bewegung and Im Lauf der Zeit
So, I am now wondering, if anyone can help determine which edition to go with of these films. Apparently Axiom in UK will release them sometime soon with subtitles, but probably not before the end of May. Then there are several releases of these films in Germany, and I am prepared to do without subtitles. Any thoughts from our German friends?

I have the German Arthaus edition of Im Lauf der Zeit, which includes an extremely informative voice-over commentary by Wenders (in German.) This edition does not include English subtitles. I recommend it highly.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:02 am 

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Last month, I saw Wenders introduce a screening of Alice in the Cities (which I hadn't seen since its showing at the London Film Festival in about 1975) and then being interviewed onstage at BFI Southbank as part of the current retrospective of his films there, many prints provided by Axiom. The print of Alice… (provided by Axiom) was new (according to the brochure) but was on all fours with Solent's description of the R4 DVD release: a few pops and lines but, for me at least, very watchable as soon as I got used to the very heavy grain.

A few of the things Wenders said:

• As a 16 year old schoolboy he was present at the release of the Oberhausen Manifesto (his family was living in Oberhausen), his main memory of it being that he was smoking a cigarette because “that’s what people did at the cinema”.
• He was also still at school when he first met Peter Handke, at a production of one of Handke’s plays; Handke remembered Wenders when they bumped into each other in the street the next year, and they went to the cinema together. When Wenders started to make films, Handke invited him to make a film of The Goalie’s Fear of the Penalty without any question of payment for rights, contracts, etc. Wenders said Handke is still one of his best friends and he produced a couple of Handke’s films including The Left-Handed Woman. Handke gave him a script last year which Wenders expects to film this year or next.
• Wenders was initially interested in the films of Warhol, Brakhage and Snow. In 1967 he was in Paris trying unsuccessfully to be a painter, but seeing 4 films a day at the Cinémathèque. He first learned film grammar there, notably from a retrospective of the films of Anthony Mann, and he believes he has used this same grammar ever since.
• Since he wasn’t getting anywhere as a painter, he applied to join the first student intake at the Munich Film School. There was no film historian on the staff, the students weren’t shown a single film during the first year and the school had only one camera which only ran on mains and so couldn’t be taken outside. Of course the students occupied the school in 1968, but Wenders said they would have had to do so anyway regardless of what was happening elsewhere in the world because the school authorities were so useless. Werner Schroeter was another of the initial student intake; Fassbinder applied but was turned down and, according to Wenders, was so pissed off that he made three feature films during the next year while the successful applicants learned and did nothing worthwhile.
• Before Alice in the Cities, Wenders had made three feature length films, all different from each other in style and none of which really had anything of himself in them. He had begun to think that he should get out of film. The only thing he liked about the last of the three, The Scarlet Letter, was a short improvised scene between Rüdiger Vogler and a 7 year old girl, Yella Rottländer, who of course became the main cast members in Alice… which was, for Wenders, a self-imposed make-or-break film; it turned out to be the film in which he found that he had something to say (involving wanderlust and alienation, a fascination with, albeit ambivalence towards, American culture and an attempt to find the soul of the area in which he is filming, these having been an important part of his subject matter ever since); and he also found his own cinematic voice with which to say it.
• Rüdiger Vogler still is busy acting especially on German TV and in French films, but Wenders said Vogler’s career was damaged by becoming perceived as Wenders’ alter ego – no other major director wanted to employ him because of this. Shortly after Alice…, Yella Rottländer acted in a TV serial and hated it so much that she refused to do any more acting (although I think she was in Faraway So Close many years later). As an adult, she developed a career in costume design and so was involved in film, but changed career in her thirties and is now a doctor.
• Although their subject matter and cinematic styles are very different, Wenders' idea of paradise is to watch any of Ozu’s films. He came to them “late”, around the time of Alice…; the first time he saw one, he sat through three consecutive shows of it.

Sorry this is so long. There were plenty more interesting snippets about Kings of the Road, Hammett, Wings of Desire, The State of Things, Faraway So Close, Lightning over Water and Land of Plenty to mention just a few - this post would be far too long if I went through all of them. Wenders was generally less lugubrious and more humorous than I had expected based on commentaries and interviews I have heard before. He often paused for thought before answering a question rather than saying the first thing that came into his head. Nick Roddick, who conducted the onstage interview and moderated the Q&A, ended the session by thanking the audience. with suitable self-deprecation, for listening so attentively to “two middle-aged men with ponytails”: Wenders has a full, thick thatch of hair and a thin moustache, whereas Roddick has little more than his eyebrows and ponytail.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:26 am 
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Could you post what he said about Land of Plenty?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:36 pm 
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brunosh wrote:
There were plenty more interesting snippets [...] -- this post would be far too long if I went through all of them

I, for one, beg to differ. :wink:

Thanks for that!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:52 pm 
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Thanks for sharing those "snippets," brunosh. I always thought Wenders was a sympathetic filmmaker, even though some of his films in later years have not quite sustained the promise of his earlier work. I would have liked to hear him talk about his films.

Back in the late '80s/early '90s, he published two books -- The Logic of Images and Emotion Pictures. In the former, he discusses films and rock albums that made an impression on him (if I remember correctly, some or all of the pieces were reprints of articles he wrote early in his career, before he became a filmmaker). In the latter book, he thinks about cinema, and discusses his films up to that point (I believe, he even talks about the ideas that would later become Himmel and End of the World).

Wenders' reputation was better at that time, and his films up until then would appear to have been a more even string of successes. In any event, I look forward to seeing the early road movies that fascinated me, when he wrote about them, but which I never had the chance or got around to seeing at the time.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:08 pm 
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Thanks for posting those snippets, Bruno

This comment is interesting
brunosh wrote:
• Before Alice in the Cities, Wenders had made three feature length films, all different from each other in style and none of which really had anything of himself in them. He had begun to think that he should get out of film.

Although Alice really represents a big step up in his work (and not just because The Scarlet Letter was such a mess), it surprises me that he doesn't see Summer in the City as having much of himself in it. I'd always seen it as a really personal film, tackling lots of his later concerns with somewhat less discipline.

Is that film effectively in DVD limbo because of music rights issues? Alabama: 2000 Light Years from Home would be in the same boat, I guess.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:56 pm 

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domino harvey wrote:
Could you post what he said about Land of Plenty?

Sorry, I'm long overdue replying. And, having now seen (and perhaps enjoyed more than any Wenders' film since Paris Texas) Land of Plenty, I've also realised that my memory was playing tricks on me when I wrote my previous post. The film came up only briefly in the Q&A when one of the punters prefaced her question by encouraging the audience to make an effort to see Land of Plenty which was getting its first UK release as part of the season.

I was thinking instead of Don't Come Knocking (which, even now, I haven't seen) and, in particular, Wenders' remark (confirming something said earlier in this thread) that he was delighted to shoot the film in Bute because he had wanted, but not be allowed, to shoot Hammett on location there. I may be reading too much into what he said, but my impression was that he sees something iconic in Bute, beautiful, once thriving but now almost empty, perhaps a symbol for him of aspects of America, to which he was strongly drawn in his youth (he said at one point that his youth would have been totally boring but for American culture), but which he seems to believe has lost (for the time being?) its sense of direction and openness.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:57 pm 
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Until the End of the World

When this first came out, my reaction was one of dismay. I was on a bit of a Wenders kick, having recently seen many of his great 70s films for the first time, plus The State of Things. I'd been less thrilled by his US films, but Wings of Desire had hit me as a triumph of pure cinema, and was probably one of my favourite films at the time.

And then this farrago. It was bewilderingly bad, and its badness had an uncanny clarity, as if all of Wenders' wrong moves were laid out before you on the screen.

To summarise, the gaudy first half seemed little more than filler: international locations, cameos-a-go-go, but thin on content with a repetitive catch-and-release structure. The second half in the outback had the opposite problem - this was where the film's real ideas resided, but it seemed rushed and cheap, and Wenders' cinematic vision seemed to fail him badly at the crucial juncture (a scientific laboratory in a cave? Where'd you get a CRAZY idea like that?) As if this wasn't bad enough, the back of the film was broken by largely mediocre performances and some really abysmal dialogue. The audience I saw it with was right with the film at the start but gradually lost their will to live. When, after two and a half hours, Sam Neill's narrator announces something like "we thought it was over, but our story was only beginning", a collective groan went through us like a Mexican Wave. Wenders' cinema never really seemed to recover from this debacle.

So I approached the full-length version with equal parts trepidation and optimism. The extension could theoretically have resolved some of the pacing issues, at least.

Well, sort of. The film's problems are all still there, and some have even been amplified. The final act is better paced, but the first, globe-trotting part still masks narrative stasis with the illusion of forward motion, and once the gang gets to Coober Pedy we don't even have that illusion to cling to.

The performance problems are even clearer in long-form. Solveig Dommartin just can't carry a film. She was appropriately decorative in Wings of Desire, and pretty good in S'en fout la mort, but in both cases she was just playing back-up to much stronger actors (in the latter, when you're up against Alex Descas and Jean-Claude Brialy in full flight the smart thing to do is get out of their way). Here she's clearly The Director's Girlfriend (and she even gets to sing The Director's Favourite Song - not very well, but even that can't drain the emotion from Ray Davies at his songwriting peak) and the only particular skill she brings to the role is her ability to speak several languages. She does a bad drunk, and she never brings much depth to the more demanding scenes. Her character's personality is narrated at us (by another character, even) rather than acted out.

She's not alone. William Hurt's performance is phoned in; Sam Neill is awful and unformed throughout (and his purple narration is particularly irritating); Jeanne Moreau is hopelessly constrained in what should be the film's emotional centre; David Gulpilil has even less latitude - so much wasted talent, and so little chemistry between any of them. Only Rudiger Vogler manages to invest his character (old standby Philip Winter) with any real spark of personality, and he's given almost nothing to do.

The dialogue is a big problem. So much of it is clunky and expository that it kills everything on screen, reducing a promising science fiction premise to movie-of-the-week platitudes. Here's a gem from William Hurt: "All I want is for my mother to see, and for my father to know that I love him." Isn't it cosy that the end of the world can be reduced to such familiar dynamics?

Unfortunately, my favourite line from the short version (which must have required even more bald exposition) seems to be missing from the long one. It had long been my gold standard for a magical convergence of a bad line and a bad line delivery, when Neill's character petulantly spits: "You've just become junkies on your own dreams!" This version doesn't even have that camp payoff.

I assume this four and a half hour version was developed for television, as each of the three 'episodes' are of equal length, carry titles and credits and use the opening narration to recap what's gone before. I confess I could only digest it in instalments. Although the film's structure is better balanced overall, with the denouement less rushed, it's still unforgivably overextended. Wenders assembles a huge cast of characters but has no idea what to do with them. Most of them are all but superfluous even on their first appearance, so when they all wind up in the desert, their superfluity is even more pronounced. Wenders' solution in the long cut is that all of these pointless characters form a band, which is, conceptually at least, pretty funny. Not so funny when you have to watch lots of scenes of jam sessions, or the film that precedes them.

Which brings me to the music: the film has a rather daunting bespoke soundtrack (U2, Nick Cave, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, a resurfaced Patti Smith, a reformed Can - a good mark of the accrued good will Wenders was burning through with this project) but to me it's incredibly badly integrated into the film, songs just tacked onto the background of scenes. It's particularly mystifying when you consider how great Wenders' instincts for pop music in films used to be, and how perfectly the sound and images were integrated in Wings of Desire (think of Laurie Anderson in the library; or 'From Her to Eternity' - one of the great uses of a rock performance in film). The songs are generally good and evocative (notable exceptions being Lou Reed's atrocious bar-band drivel 'What's Good' and the lame, anthemic song that closes the film), they're just unimaginatively thrown in, much as you'd expect from a Hollywood smash-and-grab soundtrack.

The premise of the film is one I think is actually really strong: a great technological breakthrough (allowing the blind to see) gets sidetracked into solipsism because of its unplanned but implicit alternative uses. It's a grand theme (the perils of self-interest, particularly in the scientific realm), but it's left until the very last section of the film and saddled with so much other banal bumf (dysfunctional-family psychodrama; indigenous romanticisation; millennial paranoia; joyless globe-trotting) that it doesn't get the attention it warrants. By this point everyone seems to be so exhausted that the film just explains in voiceover or dialogue what it should be delicately suggesting.

So what else went wrong? Wim was presumably too besotted with Solveig to acknowledge her limitations, or even to use the over-stuffed cast to shoulder some of her burden. He also seems to have seen this as his chance to do something really big, but that's hardly where his strengths as a filmmaker lie. Even his most ambitious previous films (Kings of the Road, Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) were essentially about a handful of characters and their interrelationships - and that's the film that's buried deep under the glossy distractions of this one as well. So the film comes off as a great big, undisciplined splurge, with Wenders vamping ineffectually through too many iconic locations and faltering when he gets to the material that should have worked best - there's a clear yearning for the visionary imagery of Walkabout in several sequences of the second half, but in most cases it doesn't amount to much more than your generic TV-series canyon shoot. It's a film that falls at every fence, but there's nevertheless something perversely admirable about it. I'm certainly fonder of it than of many of his subsequent, similarly compromised but less ambitious, features.


Last edited by zedz on Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:27 am 
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Great post, zedz. I have little to add, as you describe the problems that one can have with the film quite precisely. It's certainly flawed, but as you yourself say, in its own way its also admirable, and I'd say, that here the sum is much more than the flawed parts. The pacing has indeed been nicely addressed in the full-length version, it was indeed my greatest problem with the film. I don't think the film is over-extended now, especially if you indeed watch it in three bits; what Wenders probably intended was a sort of 'contemplation' of film-making and the respective approach from viewers; and the length it has now greatly helps that.

Some of the problems that you mention might disappear if you look at the film from a particular angle, and that is: it's a film about seeing, and also about movie-making and the history of the movies.

zedz wrote:
To summarise, the gaudy first half seemed little more than filler: international locations, cameos-a-go-go, but thin on content with a repetitive catch-and-release structure.

True, but I think that Wenders quite consciously adopts typical clichés of noir/crime thrillers etc., and the repetitive structure only serves to highlight the generic formulas here. I actually always liked this part, because I had the feeling that Wenders took the formula and made fun of it (think of Vogler's character, for instance). That the characters are all flat might be of course a by-product of the bad acting, but I think it also helps the intentional stereotyping. And regardless of Wim's intentions or failures, I find the visuals stunningly beautiful all the time...

zedz wrote:
(a scientific laboratory in a cave? Where’d you get a CRAZY idea like that?)

Lots of obscure B-movies from the 50s, for instance. Or Star Trek. Again, a play on existing films and formulas, this time the science-fiction-film.

zedz wrote:
The dialogue is a big problem. So much of it is clunky and expository that it kills everything on screen, reducing a promising science fiction premise to movie-of-the-week platitudes.

That's an old problem with Wenders (and something that even increased with time). He can be terribly didactic at times; but again I don't find the dialogue here worse than in "Land of Plenty" or in "Wings of Desire" (which delves too much into Handke's pseudo-philosophic murmurings; curiously I still love that film).

zedz wrote:
Which brings me to the music: the film has a rather daunting bespoke soundtrack (U2, Nick Cave, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, a resurfaced Patti Smith, a reformed Can – a good mark of the accrued good will Wenders was burning through with this project) but to me it’s incredibly badly integrated into the film, songs just tacked onto the background of scenes.

Agreed, completely. Some of the use of music actually reminded me of some music video or some bad new age film (that sequence where they walk through the desert with Peter Gabriel singing in the background; and I'm a Gabriel fan!). The original music by Graeme Revell, however, is fantastic; much in the vein of the SPK "Zamia Lehmanni" album. I wished Wenders had thrown out all that U2 etc. stuff and had encouraged Revell to do all the music. At least we would have a fantastic soundtrack cd then.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:23 am 
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Excellent posts. I've not seen the full length version yet but I recently rewatched the shorter one and while I would not be as harsh on it as zedz I can definitely understand where he is coming from!

Particularly agree on the music front. The way most of the music is blown through with token snippets in the background of the early scenes has got to stand as the most wasteful use of a soundtrack in cinema history!

Tommaso wrote:
Some of the problems that you mention might disappear if you look at the film from a particular angle, and that is: it's a film about seeing, and also about movie-making and the history of the movies.

zedz wrote:
To summarise, the gaudy first half seemed little more than filler: international locations, cameos-a-go-go, but thin on content with a repetitive catch-and-release structure.

True, but I think that Wenders quite consciously adopts typical clichés of noir/crime thrillers etc., and the repetitive structure only serves to highlight the generic formulas here. I actually always liked this part, because I had the feeling that Wenders took the formula and made fun of it (think of Vogler's character, for instance). That the characters are all flat might be of course a by-product of the bad acting, but I think it also helps the intentional stereotyping. And regardless of Wim's intentions or failures, I find the visuals stunningly beautiful all the time...

I would agree with Tommaso and would also add that I feel all Wenders' films are more about the journey than the arrival, which is often why the climax of his later films like this and The End Of Violence feel like letdowns from the point of view of narrative payoff.

I also feel that Until The End Of The World is about people ignoring what is going on around them that they have no influence over to live in their own fantasies (perhaps the one prescient 'futuristic' idea in the film). Claire Tourneur is the main example as she has absolutely no direction, just driving aimlessly around until she gets caught up in an obsession with Farber and the whole first section of the film seems to be about the way all the different, fascinating locations are being ignored (strangely like the music, they are literally reduced to the background) in favour of Tourneur's chase of Farber.

Through that first section Farber looks purposeful but what is interesting is that in the second half of the film where we find out about his work it is just as much an attempt to escape from the world as Tourneur's is. There is complete indifference to whether the outside world has ended or not because it really doesn't matter to Tourneur or Farber. It would seem that for Farber the outside world was just something he had to endure to collect images to show to his mother (if we are being uncharitable towards his character the film could be seen as a cautionary tale about the lengths a bore will go to to force someone to see his holiday snaps! "Blind, you say? Well let me hook you up to this machine and we'll see about that! You will see the pictures of myself and the wife on holiday in Japan!")

And even then, it is less about his relationship with his mother than his father. For me it creates the idea that the film is trying to say that people don't do anything for 'humanity' in the abstract, instead they create things because of their attachments to people they know. It follows from that perhaps that really the only person Farber is interested in is himself, which is why we get the final section of the Farbers and Tourneur watching their own dreams through their invention and wandering obliviously through the landscape - they're literally caught in a cycle of self-regard. Who needs others? (That is why I quite like the "junkie of your own dreams" line, even if it is a bit on the nose)

But then, and this is why I feel Sam Neill's voiceover is so important, the film is filtered through the eyes of an outsider to all this introspective, narcissistic, blinkered action. He is also a writer, who of course needs other people to read his work to be considered a writer (he can't just read his account himself) and we could suggest that writing and reading is a process of asking the reader to create their own images for the story rather than pursue a definitive image of their dreams - it is a different way of probing your mind and one which you can turn outward to suggest your idea of the world to others rather than inward where you are just defining yourself to yourself in an act of mental masturbation.

However he could be seen as just as flawed as Claire as he facilitates the round the world trip (just as it seems likely that he facilitated her aimless drifting around before and at the start of the film) by providing her with cash! In that sense, if we are continuing with the "junkie on your dreams" idea, Eugene was her old dealer who is upset that Claire's hooked up with the guy pushing the latest drug and has unceremoniously dumped him! It also makes the ending where Eugene forces Claire to go cold turkey on the dream machine more powerful as he was obviously never able to deny her anything before.

Also, at what point did Eugene decide to write his account? Did Eugene let Claire run round the world (and has he always let her drift aimlessly about, getting into different situations) to simply get material from her?

It is an extremely strange film, equating looking inwards too much with travelling the world and not seeing anything. It is as wasteful in construction as the characters are wasteful in the pursuit of their goals. It would seem to be mostly about the pleasures of the journey rather than the inevitably always disappointing arrival (even when Jeanne Moreau is there to greet you!), but at the same time the journey could be suggested to be useless only when we are not aware of our surroundings.

I find it flawed, clunky and terribly dated but also a strangely earnest and touching film. I'm not sure I would defend Million Dollar Hotel as much! (but I do think it shares some of the same qualities of ennui and technological disconnection with The End of Violence)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:50 pm 
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This is great. I was hoping to arouse some apologists (it's impossible that such a one-of-a-kind film would lack them) offering alternative perspectives.

I guess one point of difference I have with Tommaso is that I don't find the first part of the film all that visually impressive or beautiful. Certainly not compared with Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas or Kings of the Road. So this journey is much less satisfying to me than his other ones. Also, I think this was the first time he devoted so much time and attention to the 'disappointing destination', which might account for the disappointing nature of the whole film. I had exactly the same problem with Don't Come Knocking, which seemed like a return to form until it ground to a halt in the second half for banal, overegged family drama that seemed to last forever.

I much, much prefer early Wenders like Summer in the City, Alice in the Cities, Wrong Movement, Kings of the Road where the journey fizzles out or implodes. If Wenders is trying to communicate that the journey is more important than the destination, this seems to me the sensible way of doing that. I get the sense in his later work that he's almost trying to overcome his instincts and impose meaning on his filmic journeys in these extended 'arrivals', but I find the attempt ham-fisted and unconvincing.

I agree with Tommaso about the Revell soundtrack, but I quite like the array of actual songs that were available to Wenders (with a handful of exceptions). I could certainly see the Can and Smith tracks working beautifully in the context of the film if more thought had been put into it. I also think 'Fretless' (better than almost anything on 'Out of Time') is perfect for the reunion scene, but I recall it being more effectively used in the theatrical cut.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:23 pm 
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Certainly the first half, when there's still a sense of mystery and the ridiculous plot hasn't yet made itself known, is the superior segment. Whatever small pleasures the film allots, they're ultimately simply not justified by the amount of time one has to devote to the film to receive them. I don't hate the film and I admire Wenders' foolish zeal in creating a five-hour film mostly by accident, but the film is a failure.

And whichever one of you dissed Land of Plenty a few posts back, meet me at the tetherball court at 3PM for a stomping.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:28 am 
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zedz wrote:
I guess one point of difference I have with Tommaso is that I don't find the first part of the film all that visually impressive or beautiful. Certainly not compared with Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas or Kings of the Road.

The beauty of the first part is certainly of a different nature than that of the films you mention (haven't seen "Kings of the Road"). At the end of the 80s Wenders made a (for me) surprising turn towards embracing the then current styles in both music and fashion, i.e. the so-called 'new wave' (for want of a better word) of the 80s. A good indication is "Notebook on Cities and Clothes". It's probably just a personal matter, as I grew up in precisely this time and with those aesthetics and predelictions; and the beginning of "Until the end of the world" with its neon-lit world is exactly what I remember this time was like, and I think he very nicely managed to capture it on screen (more convincing to me than, say, Beineix in "Diva"). I simply quite like the way that Dommartin looks in the film (regardless of her acting); and the style of the locations, the 'right' choice of music (excepting U2 for a moment) etc. Exactly the opposite to his 70s films which you cherish so much: there everything looks like 70s Germany, of course, and as a 'new waver' I just never liked that look. All this colours my perception of these films (too much personal involvement), and I've only come to like these early films in recent times ("Wrong movement" is a masterpiece, for instance).

zedz wrote:
I had exactly the same problem with Don't Come Knocking, which seemed like a return to form until it ground to a halt in the second half for banal, overegged family drama that seemed to last forever.

Again, as with "End of the World", I see your point. But in DCK I'd also say that what is actually going on (which may be banal) is not so important compared to the absurdity of the situation and the fine shades and variations in the reactions and speeches of the Shepard character. If you don't take DCK too seriously, it's hilariously funny in places. And it's a good example of how music can be perfectly integrated into a film. That title tune stuck in my head for weeks (damn, it's coming back right now that I'm thinking about it...).

And Domino, I'd be happy to meet you at the tetherball court whenever I come near to your place; but I didn't dismiss "Land of Plenty" as such. I just find that here is a film where Wenders takes the important points he has to make so seriously that the film almost breaks down under the load. This is basically, but not solely due to the dialogue, but also to the storyline: my God, is it really such news that the Arabian guy at the end of the film isn't a terrorist but a truly nice person? And really: having the characters go to Ground Zero at the end of the film - although absolutely everything that Wenders has to say is already more than clear - is worse didacticism than you'd find in even the most heavy-handed endings in Kurosawa. And good old Akira is very hard to top in that respect.
That said, the film has great acting and truly beautiful photography, and is saved by this for the most part.


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