Wings of Desire

There are angels on the streets of Berlin.

Drama Fantasy Romance
128 min     7.817     1987     France


Two angels, Damiel and Cassiel, glide through the streets of Berlin, observing the bustling population, providing invisible rays of hope to the distressed but never interacting with them. When Damiel falls in love with lonely trapeze artist Marion, the angel longs to experience life in the physical world, and finds -- with some words of wisdom from actor Peter Falk -- that it might be possible for him to take human form.


CinemaSerf wrote:
Bruno Ganz is on top form in this characterful study of desire - physical and spiritual. He is "Daniel" an angel invisible to all but his own kind (and to the innocence of children) who finds himself, with his colleague "Cassiel" (Otto Sander) policing the city of Berlin at the end of the second world war. Needless to say, there are no shortages of claimants on their compassion and they do what they can to help assuage the difficulties faced by the desperate and the struggling. When he alights on circus trapeze artiste "Marion" (Solveig Dommartin) though, "Daniel" starts to have doubts. His entire raison d'être starts to become compromised as he realises that there are benefits to being mortal, and human, and that being in love is probably the greatest of these. Up until this moment, his life has been intangible and he determines that must change. It's risky though... There are no guarantees! It's a bit of a slow burn so don't expect a great deal to happen quickly. It is, however, quite a potent tale of realising priorities and dealing with demons - some more apparent than others - told in a gradually accumulating, effective and emotionally charged manner. It is not in the least sentimental but just as the angels observe their subjects, we are invited by Wim Wenders to do the same with them - and it's surprisingly effective to watch as some of the questions and challenges facing him could easily be applied to those in the audience. The monochrome photography is also striking and well authenticates the scenario of a desolate and despairing post war environment. Perhaps serendipity takes too big an hand at the end, but... you decide.