FAR AWAY, SO CLOSE
DIRECTOR: WIM WENDERS
COUNTRY: GERMANY 1993
CINEMATOGRAPHY: JURGEN JURGES
MUSIC: LAURENCE PETTIGAND
CAST: Otto Sander, Peter Falk, Horst Buchholtz, Nastassja Kinski, Heinz Ruhmann, Solveig Dom Martin, Rudiger Vogler, Lou Reed, Willem Dafoe, M. Gorbatschov
SUPER FEATURES: I wanted to like this film.
I really wanted to like this film. And like its predecessor, WINGS OF DESIRE, it has some nice touches, which one wonders where is going
to lead, and what is the film doing.
But, alas, it seems that every film exercise has to end up in some sort of theme, or idea, for it to have meaning, so it seems. It is my opinion,
that this film deteriorates, as soon as it becomes a story, instead of maintaining the idea that it had created.
That's not to say that the film isn't as good, when that happens. To me, the illusory part was a bit more interesting, than the eventual story
about an angel wanting to find out what it is like to be a human, and having to go and find out what it is like.
The film starts with the usual style that made the other film so interesting. In this one Cassiel, Rafaela spend much of their time looking at things and making observations about people. As before, they can hear, and see things before they actually happen, and most often when they are happening. Where their attention goes, they connect and hear that person's lament, or questions.
Cassiel, however, longs to find out what it is like to be human, and eventually gets to try it. And innocently enough he gets to find out that not everyone around is honest, and has good reasons to boot. His first connection, is in all actuality another member of his group ( a baker named Daniel ), and they all go about their business until Cassiel gets involved with some not so good affairs. And the film becomes a bit of an over ripe fig for my tastes. To me the wonder of the previous half, is now becoming the symbolic path that the film has to take. A sort of Christian concept now has to take over, complete with sacrificial lamb, and pointed theme. This, to this reviewer, ate the film up.
But, it isn't all as bad as I make it sound. I suppose, for a regular art film go'er, we may have liked to see something stick to it, and really make a case. The premise was great, but since we are humans, our resources into that space are limited, and this film is no different. It really is not the film's fault. But it could have been more interesting to me to see the stream of consciousness that it was working with instead of a thematic story, so overly laden with symbols that do not really add anything to the whole film.
The best part of the film, and also the oddest, is Wim Wenders use of various musicians and their songs to highlight several things here and there. Right out in the open, are Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Jane Sieberry, Laurie Anderson, House of Love and other unusual musicians, which give the film a basic art house style. To me, though, it is a shame that the film departs from it too soon. But these artists, become a sort of
inspiration for the now earth bound angel, which adds a nice touch to the material. While what these artists do say is interesting, it is not as good as what is around, but the analogy is good enough. And Lou Reed is specially interesting, as he happens not to be a vain artist, and knows very well what he is doing.
Another of Wim Wenders' curiosity shop items, is his use, and handling of Michael Gorbachov, of the recently broken up Soviet Union. As he
works on a book, he wonders about certain things, and then writes, and of course, we already knew that these things were happening. But the
charismatic leader, did come off, like the other characters in the film, for the most part, as honest, and caring, something that not many of us
has the feeling for in many politicians, specially one of Gorbachov's stature.
Not a great film, but easier to watch than its predecessor Wings of Desire. Watch the really well thought out camera angles to allow you to see a different point of view. The technical side of this film is probably its very best asset.
Please email me with questions and/or comments
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