Saturday 20 January 2018

Digitisations, Restorations and Revivals (33) - Berlinale 2018 Selections and a nostalge about Wim Wenders

Wim Wenders (2015)
Way, way back, it seems like it was not long after Jesus left the cadet corps, 1987 to be precise, Wim Wenders unleashed on an unsuspecting world Wings of Desire a marvelous fable about angels and the working man in Berlin. It starred the actor then at the height of Euro art movies, Bruno Ganz, described at the time by a female friend as THE man to die for. Bruno would later come out to Australia to play a Frenchman in the Gillian Armstrong/Helen Garner/Jan Chapman film The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992).

Wings of Desire was instantly invited to the Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals that year and, after initial acceptance, the producers and distributors went cold on sending the film out to the Antipodes. They hadn’t anticipated that distributors around the world would be baying to buy it for commercial release. Enter Ian Pringle, film-maker, friend of Wenders and a man with Wim’s telephone number. Hey presto, the film was on its way. SFF Director Rod Webb later said he had given up hope but there it was. Sydney and Melbourne got the first international screenings after the triumph at Cannes.

Well time marches on and this year just over thirty years later, Wings of Desire has been restored and is one of seven movies which form the sidebar Berlinale Classics 2018: Sieben Restaurierungen feiern ihre Weltpremieren at the forthcoming Berlinale. I assume all seven will be coming to the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals so you wont have too long to wait to see Wings of Desire and the six others in all their restored glory. 

Here’s the list:

Der Himmel über Berlin/Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, Germany/France 1987)

Az én XX. századom (Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary/Germany 1989), Debut feature of the Golden Bear winner from 2017

Fail Safe (Sidney Lumet, USA 1964) Completely overshadowed by the release of Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove in the same year.

Letjat schurawli/The Cranes are Flying (Mikhail Kalatazov, USSR 1957) The great film of the Kruschev thaw.
HaChayim Al-Pi Agfa (Life According to Agfa – Nachtaufnahmen, Assif Dayan, Israel 1992). Nothing known your honour.

Arima Ineko, Hara Setsuko, Tokyo Twilight
Tokyo Boshoku/ Tokyo Twilight, (Yasujiro Ozu Japan 1957) one of Ozu’s least known works. Stars his regular Setsuko Hara as one of two sisters reconciling with their mother.

Das alte Gesetz/The Ancient Law (E.A. Dupont, Germany,1923) The silent master who would later make Variety and Piccadilly.

E A Dupont

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