Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wenders on Faraway, So Close

From The Cinema of Wim Wenders and The Celluloid Highway:

"The hesitancy to say something rests on the inability to form an opinion. Everybody wants to stay out of things. But with the present situation, one cannot stay out of things. Today, films are evaluated exclusively by their entertainment value, and it bothered many people that Faraway, So Close had a message, especially if they saw it as a Christian message."

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"Stories are impossible, but it's impossible to live without them. That's the mess I'm in."

Interviewed by Daly and Waugh at Film West:

"I think every film is a new exploration of that equation, and that each film defines its own time and its own space, and each film does so from scratch. Faraway, so Close certainly defined a different time to Wings of Desire which is after all what the title of its sequel is referring back to."

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"Faraway so Close was the first script that Ulrich ever wrote. He’s a young German poet. He wrote two stage plays and basically a collection of poems and his poems were the only thing I knew when I contacted him. Maybe it’s also because I know so well the structure and the story of what I want to do, or even if I don’t know it I feel it’s something that has to come from myself. Because the one thing that I really can’t find for myself, and that other people are so much better at is to invent characters, and to have different people speak differently, which is an incredible gift I think, to write a script and achieve this phenomenon that one person speaks according to his character and he sits at a table with somebody else who speaks differently. Whatever I did in my life, whenever I was writing dialogue, everybody was speaking with my voice and that’s boring. I really think it’s a fantastic gift to be able to write dialogue, but of course nobody just writes dialogue. Whenever you sit and write with somebody they are getting involved with the story, the structure and with the various scenes. I was never really looking for somebody who was a screenwriter in the sense that he was responsible for the ‘screen-play’. I was looking for somebody who was just a good writer."

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From John Wilson's The Best Christian Writing 2004.

"Far Away, So Close! was a film that was clearly made with religious intent. I mean, it even starts with a quotation from the Gospel of Matthew: 'The eye is the lap of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness'."

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"In Far Away, So Close! there's an entire film happening just on an audio level, and it's filled with all sorts of quotes, many from the Old and New Testaments. From the beginning, I felt that if we ever made a second film with these angel characters, I couldn't pretend that nothing had happened to me in between. I couldn't make another film in which the angels were metaphors, because they were no longer metaphors to me. If I made another film about angels, they would have to be messengers of God, the go-betweens. They could refer only to God, because as messengers, they were nothing in themselves -- the message was everything. So the film had to be filled with their message. To do anything else with these characters would have been to betray my entire experience. The film would have to be with God from beginning to end, because that would be the angels' only intention. Unlike Wings of Desire, where their metaphorical choice was to become human, in Far Away, So Close! that was no longer an option. It does happen that the angel Cassiel becomes a man, but only so that he then can return to being an angel. In a strange way, in Wings of Desire the spiritual world was a metaphor, but in Far Away, So Close! life is the metaphor for something spiritual.
In hindsight, I must say, I was too didactic. The film was way too cerebral. In the first year you become a missionary or a priest, you probably, make nothing but mistakes because you're too upfront about things. You're too filled with a certain desire, and that kills everything you want to achieve. When I see the film now, and I hear all those quotes, I must say that I was filled with too much missionary fervor."

2 comments:

The King Of Cool said...

I really love those quotes and the pictures you posted. The imagery is so beautiful.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith...I agree. I think it's refreshing to hear a filmmaker not afraid to express feelings of spirituality.