Wings of Desire (1987) – film review

wings of longing1987

Directed by Wim Wenders.
With Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Peter Falk and Solveig Dommartin.



An angel grows weary of its purely ethereal life of overseeing the human doings of Berliners, and longs for the tangible joys of physical existence when falling in love with a mortal.


Wim Wenders has been a pioneer of German cinema for over 50 years, from his early films such as Alice in the Cities, kings of the street and The American friend through what is perhaps his best-known work Paris, Texas. Many cinemas across the UK are running a retrospective on the director, featuring both his best-known features and lesser-known gems. The romantic fantasy wings of longingcelebrating its 35th anniversary, tops the season and may well remain Wenders’ standard work.

The film, shot in both black and white and color, tells the story of two angels watching over late Cold War Berlin before the fall of the Wall, and their interactions with the human world. wings of longing was hailed by some as one of the best films of the 1980s and spawned the sequel Far, so near! 1993 and a US remake in the form of city ​​of Angels a decade later with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.


Perhaps the greatest recognition one can give oneself wings of longing is its ambition, covering a variety of spaces in the city, and the thoughts of its residents, giving us a sense of the mood in Berlin at such a turbulent time. Despite this, we never lose sight of our two main characters, who guide us through this metaphysical journey in largely silent manner.

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The film, as with people like Paris, Texas, is a reflection on humanity and loneliness and the resilience of the human spirit. As it reaches its final act and Bruno Ganz’s Damiel makes the leap into the human world, it becomes a celebration of humanity and the little everyday things we might take for granted, as well as the power of companionship and love. The juxtaposition between the monochromatic nature of angelic existence and the vibrant, colorful world we inhabit is stunning and perhaps one of the best examples of how to harmoniously combine the two. Of course, many of Wender’s films are known for their visuals, and cinematographer Henri Alekan helped capture the light and dark of one of Europe’s most compelling and alluring cities at one of the most intriguing points in its recent history.


Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander do remarkable work without speaking for much of the film’s running time, while Damiel gazes in awe at the potential of the world around him, while Cassiel, further away, looks on with determination; It’s the relationship and difference between the two that makes this film a fascinating one. Columbo himself Peter Falk has an extended supporting role as himself, revealed to be once an angel, in a fun and inviting departure from some of the film’s darker moments. Solveig Dommartin completes the main cast as Damiel’s love interest Marion, a trapeze artist unsure of her place in the world who finds solace in Damiel.

wings of longing remains an overwhelming cinematic achievement despite its slightly abrupt ending. He is at the forefront of an extraordinary filmography by one of the most famous directors in Germany and Europe. Operating like a time capsule almost to Berlin just before the fall of the Wall, it contains some incredible visuals and a melancholic and deeply touching tone that is sure to suffocate the audience in a warm blanket.

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Flickering Myth Rating – Movie: ★★★★★ / Movie: ★★★★★

Chris Connor

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