Thursday, February 12, 2009


116 days ago

First about the closing of the festival and Wim Wenders. I saw no really bad movie. The ones I did not mention here so far: "Snow", by Bosniac débutante Aida Begic and "Four Nights with Anna" by Polish veteran Jerzy Skolimowski were really good, somehow understated characters, simple lives, simple people, little dialog, the surroundings and habits playing an important part themselves. It's like ethnography, the observation is as important as the interviews

Mr. Wenders is quite a figure, tall, with down on his shoulders wavy gray hair, wearing a knee long raincoat and a hat. He answered questions in the showroom, then outside in the yard, expressing his keen desire to understand why the critics massacred the film and the public likes it. I managed to get to him and thank, as a Romanian, for the help he accorded Romanian cinema by producing Catalin Mitulescu's "How Did I Spend the End of the World". Then I gave him a piece of paper on which I had written "MURGA URUGUAY. THE LONGEST WORLD CARNIVAL". He asked me what it was about, I roughly explained him, mentioning there is info on the web about it and that I cannot do anything about this passionating subject, beyond writing my thesis, but he could pull out a film.


I cannot say I disliked it, but I can't say either that I was delighted or thrilled to see it. First of all, I didn't believe too much the story of a glamorous (successful, good looking) photographer who's bored of too many exhibitions, fashion shootings, university classes, wild parties and casual sex.

He's actually very lonely, living in his studio (as his ex refuses to leave the house), listening to great music at max on his IPOD, and having strange dreams. His photos are all re-made on computer by his assistants, mixing buildings, landscapes and skies in a Godlike way. As Mila Jovovich, playing herself, asks him for a more natural photo background than hi-tech studios, he flies to Palermo and chooses to stay there. So far so good, isn't it? Only he has a mysterious enemy, shooting...arrows(?!!!) at him. Wow! Plus, the gray-clad pale faced guy keeps disappearing. Mmmm. Metaphysical thriller, anyone? It reminded me of the Lord of the Rings, or rather Harry Potter. I spare you the details, maybe you'll see the movie, so I'll let the man who's not a man happy within his misery. Maybe the star photographer just got on my nerves because I am so used now to see movies about lives of ordinary people.

Campino, who plays the main character, Finn, has a great body and his image standing naked in front of a large window made the female audience gasp. But his face is unable to go through a whole range of expressions. In real life he leads the German punk band Die Toten Hosen (apparently it translates into boring times - I really love this song. His pair - one beautiful blue eyed art-restorer he meets casually (the dialog at this point is hilarious) is Giovanna Mezzogiorno, I saw her in "La finestra di fronte" and "L'ultimo bacio", I find her quite cold and inexpressive too, I think she would do great as the Snow Queen actually . And how about this line? "I am afraid of Eros' arrows".

At the end I didn't quite understand the point. Manual photography is better than digital, fashion world is hollow and artificial, Lou Reed imparts some deep life philosophy through his songs, love is the answer (really?), death is but a passage, you have to live the present moment deeply and seriously. I've read somewhere that all our actions are motivated by fear of death, the hunger for power, money, celebrity, the search of love, of God, everything has to do with our struggle to leave marks and avoid the emptiness the thought of death fills us with. I totally agree with it, but I didn't quite get it from the film. The existential quest reminded me of Antonioni and the artist facing Death of Ingmar Bergman. The film ended with a tribute to both of them, as they died while Wenders was shooting in Sicily.

Now, the cinematography is great, as is the contrast between the heaviness of life and light in Duesseldorf and the brightness of colorful Palermo. I really loved the market stroll and the meeting with a sheep in front of a painted door hiding a whole animal gathering. Music is fantastic and the sound-surround system made it fill my body. I also like the general idea of trading a hollow luxurious existence with simple pleasures in half-ruined but serene Palermo, after all a metaphor for German/Italian way of life. So watching it was enjoyable for the satisfaction of the senses, but not for my critical mind, sorry, Herr Wenders. Compared to Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire, A Million Dollar Hotel, Land of Plenty, Don't Come Knocking, this film is not worth its director.

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