Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 10 October 2014
An angel in love
For fear of being left out of the critic malarky, I can tell you that H.I. and me (not 'H.I. and I', so shut it) re-watched Wim Wenders's 'Wings of Desire' a couple of nights ago, with Peter Falk playing himself as a fallen angel, and Bruno Ganz playing something other than Hitler.
Stop me if you have seen it about 5 times like we have, but the general idea is that a few angels spend their time listening-in to mortals' thoughts, trying to save suicides and quietly logging the deepest hopes and fears of the residents of divided Berlin that they wander past, or jump down from high monuments to be with. The only humans that can see them are children, one of whom just turns to Bruno in the small audience of a little circus to make a comment about the trapeze artist who is swinging above their heads.
Bruno falls in love with this trapeze girl, and this is his downfall - the title of the film in which he plays Hitler so convincingly, all those years later. I miss Peter Falk - the part was so suited to him - a humorous and Columbo-like ex-angel who has grasped earthly existence with both hands and obviously loves it.
The only thing I will say about the film itself is that Wenders must have seen 'A Matter of Life and Death', by my heroes, Powell and Pressburger.
In the post before last, I seem to have portrayed myself as some sort of DC Comics hero who goes around saving people's lives on a daily basis, judging from someone's tongue-in-cheek comment, but - in reality - it is very difficult to know when you have saved someone's life, even if you are an angel.
Equally, it is next to impossible to know how close you have been to death in your own life, but for a tiny shift in events that you were unaware of at the time.
There have been a few times when the closeness of death was unmistakably obvious, such as the time when - whilst eating an ice cream with a friend in the Surrey countryside - I was alerted to an out-of-control car speeding up behind me about to crush me against the wall, by my friend dropping his ice cream and running. I did the same without turning to look, and one half second later, the car smashed into the space I had just vacated.
I went back to find a very old lady in a state of shock, having just completed her last drive at the wheel of an automobile. To drop a perfectly good ice cream in the dirt signifies something of great importance, as any child will tell you.
You could say that death is always very close if you live here on Earth, and you don't have to leave your front door to get any closer to it. Simply by being alive, you are always in its proximity.
Like Mr Magoo, we we wander about oblivious to the carnage going on right behind us, or the dangers which lie in wait up ahead - thank God.