Saturday, 6 March 2010


'Wings of Desire' Screening

My take on 'Wings of Desire' (1987) with Existentialist theory (Part 1).

The whole film is spontaneous and enigmatic - two very appealing features to Existentialists.

The film follows two angels, one of whom becomes human and meets his true love, Marion - she is also followed all the way through. The message: passionate love can overcome the constant angst and oppression that plagues your life.

It is filmed from the point of view of an angel, which is reflected in the Existentialist style of slow, floating camera movement.

In an early scene, a man says of his dead parents: "my father was my father, my mother was my tears, no grief." To him, they were nothing more. This is reminiscent of Meursault in Albert Camus' 'The Outsider' who barely remembers when his mother died. Although this appears unusual, it draws upon the the theory of 'so-called existence' in that we are supposed to love our parents and be devastated at their death. An Existentialist wouldn't see it as abnormal if one didn't mourn over their parents.

We are introduced to the angels Damiel and Cassiel when they are conversating in a car. One of them says: "I wish people could say 'now' 'now'...and salvage all their demons and let them loose." Existentialists say we should let our demons loose, otherwise we will oppress ourselves.

These 'demons' are shown best in the subway scene (see video, above) as the camera pans from person to person exposing what they're thinking about themselves and others.


We are then introduced to Marion in the early stages of her career as a trapeze artist. She suddenly learns that they can't pay their rent to keep the circus going, so her dream of being a famous trapeze artist is shattered.

She says to herself: "it's the end and I feel happens, that's the way it goes." Although it appears strange to talk of disappointment in this way, it epitomises Existentialist's attitude to life.

"Maybe time is the disease."

She also thinks constantly about finding love and appears trapped without it: "[I'm] longing for a wave of love...I need to love."

Homer, the aged poet

The angels occassionally hone in on a disillusioned old man called Homer. He appears reflective of the Existentialist view that people are worn down by their history.

Homer: "What makes the aspiration of peace so unendurable? Shall I give up? Where are my kids? The original, the natural"; children are very important to Existentialists as they are innocent and have no history.

As he journeys through Berlin, Homer (I might be wrong, might be someone else) says: "Today, only the German soul can be conquered". He believes that power is in the hands of "whoever has the right password". In Existentialism, authority is largely rejected as they believe you should be your own authority - it appears these quotes reflect this.

Film set

We are introduced to 'Der Filmstar' on the set of a film that appears to be about the Nazis/concentration camps. He is portrayed as an Existentialist as he is successful and seems to be in control of his own destiny.

He looks over at the extras on set and thinks to himself: "they're just extras, extra humans." This is a bit of a "hell is other people" moment!

Crowd of Children

One of the angels is sat in a crowd of kids and thinks to himself: "He [the child] had a clear picture of he can only guess".

In 'Wings of Desire', the loss of the exuberance of youth is a constant theme.

Angels at the River

One angel says to another: "I want to conquer a history for myself...away with the world behind the world".

...And then, like magic, things start to get better...

No comments:

Post a Comment