Wings of Desire

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Wings of Desire is a 1987 German romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. Its original German title is Der Himmel über Berlin, which can be translated as The Sky over Berlin. Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry partially inspired the movie; Wenders claimed angels seemed to dwell in Rilke's poetry. The director also employed Peter Handke, who wrote much of the dialogue, the poetic narrations, and the film's recurring poem "Song of Childhood." The film was followed by a sequel, Faraway, So Close! In 1998, an American remake called City of Angels was made.



Set in West Berlin in the late 1980s, toward the end of the Cold War, it follows two angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander), as they roam the city, unseen and unheard by the people, observing and listening to the diverse thoughts of Berliners: a pregnant woman, a painter, a broken man who thinks his girlfriend no longer loves him. Their raison d'être is not that of the stereotypical angel, but as Cassiel says, to "assemble, testify, preserve" reality. In addition to the story of two angels, the film also is a meditation on Berlin's past, present, and future. Damiel and Cassiel have always existed as angels; they existed in Berlin before it was a city, and in fact before there were even any humans.

Among the Berliners they encounter in their meanderings is an old man named Homer (Curt Bois), who, unlike the Greek poet of war Homer, dreams of an "epic of peace." The angel Cassiel follows the old man as he looks for the then-demolished Potsdamer Platz in an open field, where all he finds is the graffiti-covered Berlin Wall.

Although Damiel and Cassiel are pure observers, invisible to all but children, and incapable of any physical interaction with our world, Damiel begins to fall in love with a circus trapeze artist named Marion (Solveig Dommartin), who is talented, lovely, but profoundly lonely. Marion lives alone in a trailer, dances alone to the music of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and drifts through the city.

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