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.

32 comments:

  1. Pairing what are simultaneously the mysteries & wonders of life with the sweet disposition of Peter Falk is inspired.
    Death is always a breath away as is life. Older we get that takes on newer meaning.
    Glad you saved your life even if you had to sacrifice your ice cream. I usually keep a death grip on my ice cream cone!

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    1. Leslie! Sorry for the late response. I love the idea of a 'death-grip' on an ice cream.

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  2. I was thinking to say the post before last what do you want a fucking medal but I held back.

    I visited the library where some of Wings of Desire was filmed so there.

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    1. 'Punctuation', is all I am going to say, you lazy so and so.

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    2. I am a student of Samuel Beckett. You have to know about punctuation in order to feel confident in working without it. It is a bit like feeling confident in the use of the pronoun me.

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    3. Bollocks, bollocks, with more and more fucking bollocks.

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    4. I cannot believe the bollocks that you come out with. Bollocks. So what if you visited the fucking library? Go and review a film.

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    5. Fucking hell you really are fucking mad at me. You said yourself that you have to be confident to use a certain sentence construction and I am agreeing with you. Cant you see fucking see that?

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    6. I can't see why you are so angry. If you say something about my use of punctuation then you can expect me to defend myself.

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    7. Stop being so bloody aggressive in everything you say, for fuck's sake.

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  3. I was being serious - I hope you're around me when an obvious disaster is about to strike. Great film (NOT the US re-make though). Mr. Magoo both freaked me out and amused me when I was a kid.

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    1. Serious about calling you a life saver.

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    2. Hmmm, perhaps we are. I shall have a good think about this tonight. Thanks, Tom.

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  4. One thing is for sure Tom (about the only thing in the world actually) - we are all heading towards it from the minute we are born - when it strikes is a matter of luck, chance, fate - call in what you will. When the old grim reaper calls your time is up.
    Incidentally, on the subject of whether you say so and so and I or so and so and me, the Pedant in The times says both are correct and stop worrying about it - so I just put whatever I feel like putting.

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    1. I have never been worried about it Weave, don't worry.

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  5. I've not yet seen this film, but shall see if i can rent the DVD.

    On the grammar point, in that earlier post, you did ask, and we answered.

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    1. Did he? I don't remember him ever asking I just remember somebody telling him.

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    2. Bollocks, bollocks and yet more bollocks. Why don't you read the content and stop going on about the bollocks? Do you really think that I haven;t thought about all this? That would be like saying that my lack of punctuation and phrasing was a direct result of my in-depth study of Samuel Beckett, who was not averse to a bit of bollocks himself, let alone all his slavish followers. Bollocks.

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    3. And learn some proper Samuel Johnson diction before you come back here to lecture me.

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    4. I am not fucking lecturing you and it is Samuel Beckett not Johnson.

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    5. And I don't need a dictionary, I can spell.

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    6. I'm talking about Johnson as well as Beckett. I am talking about diction, and not dictionaries, as well.

      I do love you Rachel. You musn't be so harsh on everyone - chillax, as David Cameron might say.

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    7. You do? Ok I'll go chillax.

      Good night.

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  6. Why do I always visit here just after the war is over!

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    1. Do you regret that? Take my word for it - it's best you steer clear.

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    2. I wish I hadn't been there too except that in the end we were still friends.

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  7. Dear Tom, Bruno Ganz is a very remarkable actor, I know him privately, and love especially his voice. And Wim Wenders: the early films of him I have seen so often (don't know whether they ever came to other countries? Those modern and very free adaptions of Goethe's novels with e.g. Hanna Schygulla)

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    1. You know Bruno Ganz? I am impressed! Please tell him how much we love his acting - and voice -too. My German friends said about 'Downfall' that it was the only non-stereotypical and honest film they had seen about Hitler.

      I will look up his early Goethe adaptions - they sound good. My German friends haven't really forgiven Wim Wenders for defecting to the USA, though.

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    2. I can only find 'Far away, so close' for about £30 on DVD here. Is it any cheaper in Germany?

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