Wings of Desire

WINGS OF DESIRE marked Wenders’s “homecoming” and was his first German film after eight years in the USA.

The main characters are guardian angels—benevolent, invisible beings in trench coats—who listen to the thoughts of mortals and attempt to comfort them. One of them, Damiel (Bruno Ganz), wishes to become human after he falls in love with the beautiful trapeze artist Marion (Solveig Dommartin). Peter Falk, played by himself, helps him during his transformation, by introducing him to life’s little pleasures.

The film is narrated from the perspective of the angels, who see the world in black and white. Only when Damiel becomes human does the world of color reveal itself to him. He leaves behind his old friend Cassiel (Otto Sander), who continues to be accompanied by Homer (Curt Bois), the “storyteller of humanity.”

The film has achieved cult status all around the world; in 1998, it was remade under the title CITY OF ANGELS, which features Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan in the lead roles.

 

4K-restoration in 2017/18

October 29th, 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of the theatrical release of WINGS OF DESIRE. The Wim Wenders Foundation has performed an extensive process of digital visual and audio restoration of the film, to be made available in 4K and Dolby 5.1 by spring 2018. The project is being funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the FFA, and by the French CNC.

WINGS OF DESIRE’s color dramaturgy, in particular its transitions between black-and-white and color scenes, makes for particularly demanding restoration work. Though hard to imagine in today’s world of digital image processing, at the time mixing black-and-white and color footage was an extremely complex task. Since black-and-white and color film stock required completely different photochemical treatment, they could not be mixed during negative cutting. The transitions between the two, as they occur throughout the film, required complex visual effects, entailing the use of several dupes. Thus there is no single original cut negative that can be used during restoration, but rather numerous boxes and tins with countless small roles of A/B-cut negative, including optical effect components, interpositives and internegatives. All of these are now being carefully scanned in 4K, frame-accurately reassembled using an original release print as reference, and color graded from scratch.

These and other details of the restoration work have been discussed at our workshop report with Wim Wenders entitled “A work in movement: The restoration work of the Wim Wenders Foundation”. The workshop report is part of the Film Heritage Festival Film:ReStored 02 and takes place at the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum for Film and Television in Berlin on October 27th 2017.

The world premiere of the digitally restored version of WINGS OF DESIRE will be presented as part of the Berlinale Classics program of the 68th Berlinale on Friday 16th February 2018, 9:30pm at Kino International (additional screening: Wednesday 21th February 2018, 22h30 at Kino International).

Furthermore, Wim Wenders will present the restoration work of the foundation, focusing on the recently completed and challenging 4K restoration of DER HIMMEL ÜBER BERLIN on Saturday February 17th 2018, 10:30am at Kino Arsenal 1.

 

after

Restoration of WINGS OF DESIRE, Color Grading, ARRI Berlin

Format

West Germany/France 1986/87
Length: 128 min, 3493 m
Format: 35mm black and white and colour; 1:1.66; Sound
Language: German, French, English

2K DCP (HD-Scan criterion 2010), 4K Restoration in 2017/18


Festivals & Awards

1987 • Cannes International Filmfestival: Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director)
1987 • Bavarian Filmprize (Best Director)
1988 • Gilde-Filmprize in Silver (Best National Film)
1988 • European Filmprize (Best Director; Best Supporting Actor: Curt Bois)
1988 • German Film Award in Gold (Best full-length Feature Film; Best Camerawork Henri Alekan)


Cast and crew

Production: Road Movies Filmproduktion GmbH (Berlin), Argos Films S.A. (Neuilly-sur-Seine) Director: Wim Wenders Producer: Wim Wenders, Anatole Dauman Screenplay: Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger Director of Photography: Henri Alekan Editor: Peter Przygodda Sound: Jean-Paul Mugel, Axel Arft Cast: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk, Hans Martin Stier, Elmar Wilms, Sigurd Rachman, Beatrice Manowski, Lajos Kovács

Script: Gabriele Mattner Assistant Director: Claire Denis, Knut Winkler, Carola Hochgräf Music: Jürgen Knieper, Laurent Petitgand (Circus Music) In Cooparation with: Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Cologne) Personal Assistant to Wim Wenders: Ulla Zwicker Assistant Camera: Louis Cochet, Agnès Godard (Camera Operator), Achim Poulheim (Focus Puller), Peter Uhlig (Materials), Additional Shots: Peter Ch. Arnold, Martin Kukula, Frank Guido Blasberg, Peter Braatz Helicopter Shots: Klemens Becker, Klaus Krieger Special Effects: Fritz Lehmann, Wolfgang Schmidt Assistant Editor: Anne Schnee, Leni Savietto-Pütz Still Photographer: Ralf Strathmann Sound Assistant: Uwe Thalmann Re-recording: Lothar Mankewitz Re-recording Mixer: Hartmut Eichgrün Light: Bernd Hübner, Dieter Dentzer, Thomas Gosda, Claus Gerling Sets: Klaus Bieling, Dieter Bähr, Alexander Korn, Markus Pluta Sculptor: Joost van der Velden, Claude Lalanne Requisite: Peter Alteneder, Esther Walz, Henrik Gross Choreography: Lajos Kovács (Trapeze), Dieter Koschorrek (bird trainer) Wardrobe: Monika Jacobs, Brigitte Friedländer-Rodriguez, Irmtraud Simone Simon Make-up: Viktor Leitenbauer, Regina Huyer Set Design: Andreas Olshausen Title Technician: Studio Bartoschek Title Design: Uli Mayer Songs: Laurie Anderson, Laurent Petitgand, Crime & The City Solution, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Sprung aus den Wolken, Tuxedomoon, Minimal Compact, Die Haut Location Manager: Herbert Kerz, Barbara von Wrangell Line Producer: Ingrid Windisch Editorial Office: Joachim von Mengershausen Production Support: Pascale Dauman und Chris Sievernich Film Management: Inge Ruf Primary Distribution: Filmverlag der Autoren GmbH & Co KG (Frankfurt o.M.) World Distribution: Argos Films S.A. (Neuilly-sur-Seine) Shooting: 20.10.1986 – 20.12.1986; 09.02.1987 – 18.02.1987 in West Berlin + vttv Studioa Premiere (FR): 17.05.1987, Cannes International Filmfestival; (DE): 10.1987, Hof Filmfestival First Release (DE): 29.10.1987 World Sales: HanWay Films


Blu-ray & DVD

 

BLU RAY (DE)
Arthaus/Studiocanal
Language/Sound: German (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio)
Subtitles: German,English
Image Format: 1,66:1 1080 Full HD

 

DVD (DE)
Arthaus/Studiocanal
Language/Sound: German (5.1 Dolby Digital)
Subtitles: German
Image Format: 1,85:1

 

DVD – Special Edition (DE)
Arthaus/Studiocanal
Language/Sound: German (5.1 Dolby Digital)
Subtitles: German
Image Format: 1,85:1

 

DVD – Edition Deutscher Film (DE)
Arthaus/Studiocanal
Language/Sound: German (5.1 Dolby Digital)
Subtitles: German
Image Format: 1,85:1

 

BLU RAY (FR)
Arte Editions
Language/Sound: French (Mono 2.0), German (DTS HD Master Audio 5.1)
Subtitles: French
Image Format: 1,66:1 1080 Full HD

 

DVD (FR)
Arte Editions
Language/Sound: French (Mono 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: French
Image Format: 1,66:1

 

BLU RAY (GB)
Axiom Films
Language/Sound: German
Subtitles: English
Image Format: 1,66:1 1080 Full HD

 

DVD (GB)
Axiom Films
Language/Sound: German
Subtitles: English
Image Format: 1,78:1

 

BLU RAY (IT)
Ripley’s Home Video
Language/Sound: German, English, Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: Italian
Image Format: 1.66:1

 

DVD (IT)
Ripley’s Home Video
Language/Sound: German, Italian (Dolby Digital 3.0)
Subtitles: Italian
Image Format: 1.78:1

 

BLU RAY (US)
Criterion Collection
Language/Sound: German, English, French (DTS HD Master Audio 5.1)
Subtitles: English
Image Format: 1,66:1

 

DVD (US)
Criterion Collection
Language/Sound: German, English, French
Subtitles: English
Image Format: 1,66:1


Book to the film

Der Himmel über Berlin
Wim Wenders and Peter Handke
Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main 1987
172 pages, Softcover
ISBN: 9783518024065

Out of print


Press Sheet (PDF)

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