Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders: Movie Summary & Review

Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders: Movie Summary & Review

At birth, an angel visits all the children and tells them about their future life. As he leaves, he leaves a mark above his mouth, a sign of the amnesia of knowledge. To be born, you have to forget. But if every man forgets this secret, the angel remembers him and carries the burden of knowing the secret of life.

The year 2019 marked the death of an angel, Bruno Ganz, the main actor named Damiel in Wings of Desire, released in 1987. Damiel observes men and listens to them. From the child drawing to the old poet worn out by the years who drags himself to find his past. From the motorist who gets hit by a car to the delicious acrobat who rushes into the air. Damiel therefore observes, but has nothing to learn. Yes, he already knows everything. Since the beginning of time. The time for questions has never come for him: he knows where time begins and space ends, he knows that this woman worries about her son or that this man does not want to meet his sister. And he is exhausted from knowing. When the child was a child, he did not know that he was a child. But he was never this child and he wants to become one. For him, joining the world of men means finally owning this brand of angel. For Damiel, freedom begins where knowledge ends.

Wings of Desire is a poem, a metaphor about life. And like all poems, he happens at a certain time, and features a hero, a princess and a wise man. The wall has not yet fallen and there is a melancholic atmosphere in West Berlin. A melancholy which is accentuated by the black and white shooting. You can feel that Berlin is only a short distance away half herself, half alive. She misses her soul mate.

Damiel, the hero, also lives half-lives. He is an angel who wishes to become a man. You may say strange, but Damiel knows. As he listens to everyone's aspirations and anxieties, he knows that a life, even a mediocre one, is better when it is lived. Because when you look at it from above, you instantly want to go back.

Our princess is called Marion (Solveig Dommartin) and she too is an angel, from another world. She is an acrobat in a circus and her dream falls apart when the circus is forced to close its doors. She leaves her trapeze to land on earth. Damiel meets her during a "guard". But isn't it said that God is the one who walks around incognito?

We are immediately struck by the paradox between these characters: he wants to cut himself off wings because her happiness is on earth, she is only happy when she flies in the air. When they cross, the film changes to colour. Similarly, when the camera stops on the wall, we find the color. The two soul mates are seek and nurture each other's aspirations. Two worlds symmetrically opposed but complementary, despite everything. Two cursed lovers who remind us those of a man named Shakespeare.

Finally the wise man. Peter Falk (Colombo). Playing his own role. He seems to know everything before it happens, he meets each of our protagonists and approaches them with confidence. He seduces us.

This film simply makes us want to love. For what love can do, love dares to tempt. An angel who renounces heaven for love. It's simple and pure. Whether he meets Peter Falk in the middle of a film shoot or finds himself in the middle of a road accident, Damiel sings of his love for the human condition. We are certainly only extras, but we are the most beautiful piece in the world: life. For the first time he doesn't know. He has to figure it out on his own, "that's what's so beautiful". So thank you Mr. Wim Wenders you made me want to sing in the rain.

Laura Darmon


Passionate about literature, Laura regularly contributes to Berlin Poche. After graduating in law, she has been working in a publishing house as a legal transferee.

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