Wings of Desire (1987)

Director: Wim Wenders

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Peter Falk

Awards: Cannes (Best Direction, 1987)

Wings of Desire is a moody piece, shot largely without a script in post Cold War Berlin. With sepia tones, Wender follows two emotionless angels, Damiel and Cassiel in their mission to observe human behaviour. Eventually Damiel tires of watching without experiencing, having also fallen in love with a human trapeze artist. After a chance meeting with an ex-angel turned human played by Peter Falk, he decides to make the transformation himself.

The film shifts to color at the point when he loses his immortality, ala Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946), creators of Black Narcissus. Damiel begins to experience the pain and pleasures of life and manages to unite with the trapeze artist he fell in in love with before.

The film is an interesting piece from a cinematography perspective, having several unique shots that stay in your mind. Namely the sequence following the angels as they walk through a library encountering dozens of other angels perched above the humans, watching without empathy or emotion. A soundtrack puntuated by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds also stands out. The film’s message of hope and optimism is infectuous and told in lyrical and memorable way.

Other Notable Films by this Director: Paris, Texas (1984)

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3 Comments

  1. was city of angels based on this?

  2. Unfortunately…yes, it’s crap. There is a sequel made by Wender called Faraway So Close!

  3. is the sequel any good?


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