Wings of Desire (1987)

Angels in the sky | 127 minutes

Movie Info


Wings of Desire is a splendid passage of spiritual, poetic, romantic, original and capricious journey directed by Wim Wenders. This Franco-German tittle “Der Himmel über Berlin” translates as sky over Berlin. As an audience, you are taken for the mesmerising splendour, entranced by its visual exquisiteness and pondering power in the best of the imagination is always been compulsive. Surely you are in here for the exquisiteness, expression and extending landscape in its solipsistic clinging and knowing Wenders, is always been special for his extraordinary talent and some of his best known movies are The State of Things; Paris Texas & also the sequel of the Wings of Desire, Faraway, so close!

The film won the award for Best Director at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival, followed by the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.

The film is set in contemporary, thickly populated West Berlin (before the Berlin wall collapse), as we see angels move invisibly- They share and listen to the thoughts of the human inhabitants and comfort those who are in distress. Though many of the people are isolated or estranged from their beloved and loved ones and there come two angels, Damiel and Cassiel (played by Bruno Ganz and Otto Sanders). They enjoy the diverse thoughts of Berliners, and their presence dates long as city existed and much before any human coming in there. The pleasant prevalence over the pregnant woman in an ambulance on the way to the hospital or a painter struggling to find inspiration or a broken man, who thinks his girlfriend no longer loves him, and the instances of an old Holocaust victim, and many such like browsing the television channels of many programs and the vivid backdrops of discontents, disputes, solitude and emotions of people living-in characterises the rare experiences.

The movie conjures a mood of trance, requiem and reflexion, without a rush or an intrigue and just observe the city in their arm’s length. Damien senses a certain sympathy from one of the human he watches, surprisingly its Peter Falk, playing an actor himself, this is rather a catalyst until one such time- Damiel encounters a sporadic sight with a beautiful trapeze artist going night after night to the little circus where she performs and constantly listen to her desires and urges and is touched by her uncertainties and vulnerability. The romance is not accomplished nor is resembled. It is just an invisible element of unfulfilled dreams and impossible realizations while Damiel crassly stares at her inside the circus and accompanying her to her room. Voyeurism is the closest connection he can establish with the trapeze artist since the physical contact equals aching impossibility.

Sharing his view on her with Cassiel about how it would to feel, touch and sense and the function of a great body of neglected sympathies and desires, until the day Damiel is granted the honour of being human and pursues unconditional, romantic love. The composition grasps the indwelling codes of an organic unity with the women and some of the imagination contemplative, which embodies indistinct ideas in distinct form in the manner of reverie, which is to a certain extent related to mystical vision of the story.

Regardless of the fact that Damiel comprehends the importance as an angel, it seems that the slow construction of an existential emptiness is an aspect that not even angels can avoid. The angels themselves are incarnated in traditional myth forms or for that matter are a verbal reproductions of the sacred object, or at least its memory, or wholly usurp the aura of the cult value and not necessarily or precise a conventional representation. Instead, it introduces to the physical form of a typical person, like attempting to sympathize with depressed commonalities and capping in a journey of self-discovery. What better the location could have been used that could rightly lay emphasis and even witness to their sorrow, pain, fear, humour and happiness, besides the community spread in the midst of people folklore, either an urban dwells or elsewhere of human habitats

The unsurpassed plot of the film is the fact that the angels cannot experience the emotions, the pain and the perception of life like humans can do and also discloses an expressive rather than an intellectual unity, thus portraying the picturesque elegance in a subtle and poetical milieu. The metaphors, in other words, retreat, akin the art. The city of Berlin liberates into a celestial and divine flora in its passage of time. The birds-eye shots and deftly crafted interactions of mislaid and chaotic lives of people further resemble the void and astounding conditions of the real lives. The camera floats over the city, from the top of the buildings and the famous monuments and also glides down the aisle, as we see angels’ stands to the most hidden, poverty-stricken and devastated urban landscapes of this famous city, through the strokes of complex human expressions painted and also deepens and reveres the human condition.

The film has several long takes and stirringly precise to the edge of smooth canvass, the images are well illustrated and are brilliantly shot in black-and-white perspective, especially about the world experience by the angels. The other moments are sepia-toned and also colours distinctly used and it is not until Damiel receives the opportunity of being human, that’s wonderfully coloured by cinematographer Henri Alekan. The writing collaboration between Richard Reitinger, Peter Handke and Wenders is remarkable in its dexterous content and the pinch of romantic comedy is meticulous and extraordinaire in its fullness of time.

The better world always remained symbolic; truly those arbitrary and the prevailing pauses gather nostalgic pictures. The enigmatic and inexplicable reassurances derive the reasoning of human lives of each ones of us, this is all about perspective, is how you look at things. Your own thoughts and outlook defines whether an experience, and so on…. And your definition determines your response and cinema is all about the saturating colours of sun-life fade from sight, the ominous moon reaches out its long arm and applies the dark dyes of night. I’m sure that make wonderful views, when we stand side-by-side in our wonderful hues. Daniel’s explanation on why he feels the need to become human is simple that any warm-hearted human being could deeply understand his reasoning: “I don’t want to always hover above. I’d rather feel a weight within casting off this boundless freedom and tying me to the earth. At every step…every gust of wind, I’d like to be able to say, ‘Now’… No longer ‘forever’ and ‘for eternity.’

Wim Wenders dedicates this movie to all the wonderful film makers, especially Yasujirō Ozu, François Truffaut, and Andrei Tarkovsky….A place where you can see a good view is also a good place to sit and dream

Film Crew

  • Produced & Directed by Wim Wenders
  • Co-Produced by Anatole Dauman
  • Written by Wim Wenders; Peter Handke & Richard Reitinger
  • Cast: Bruno Ganz; Solveig Dommartin; Otto Sander; Curt Bois & Peter Falk
  • Music by Jürgen Knieper
  • Cinematography: Henri Alekan
  • Edited by: Peter Przygodda
  • Distributed by Basis-Film-Verleih GmbH (West Germany); Argos Films (France); Orion Classics (US) & Axiom Films (UK and Ireland)
  • Release dates: 23 September 1987 (France) & 27 October 1987 (West Germany)
  • Run time of 127 minutes
  • Country: West Germany & France
  • Language: German & French

Trailers & Videos


Wings of Desire - Official Trailer (1987)

Angels in the sky

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