Wen­ders’ won­der­land: Wim’s ups and downs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

THE GOAL­KEEPER’S FEAR OF THE PENALTY (1972)

Dis­con­cert­ingly arid ex­is­ten­tial drama (above) con­cern­ing a goalie who goes on a ru­inous walk­a­bout af­ter let­ting in an easy shot. It can be no co­in­ci­dence that Al­bert Ca­mus also kept goal.

ALICE IN THE CITIES (1974)

The open­ing sec­tion of a loosely con­nected road tril­ogy – which later took in The Wrong Move and the peer­less Kings of the Road – Alice in the Cities (be­low) re­mains the most suc­cess­ful of Wen­ders’s at­tempts to set Amer­i­can ex­panse against West Ger­man angst. Look closely and you will see the World Trade Cen­ter be­ing built in the New York se­quences. Eerie.

THE AMER­I­CAN FRIEND (1977)

Den­nis Hop­per stars as a some­what un­likely ver­sion of Tom Ri­p­ley, Pa­tri­cia High­smith’s amoral anti-hero, in this end­lessly grip­ping, de­light­fully sleazy ver­sion of the au­thor’s Ri­p­ley’s Game.

HAM­METT (1982)

Pro­ducer Francis Ford Cop­pola and Wen­ders fa­mously fought like ma­ni­acs dur­ing the pro­duc­tion of this strange trib­ute to Dashiell Ham­mett, and the film was not well-re­ceived on re­lease. It re­mains a cu­ri­ously fas­ci­nat­ing odd­ity.

PARIS, TEXAS (1984)

Wen­ders’s most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful pic­ture, Paris, Texas brought Wen­ders’s taste for Amer­i­cana and the lonely high­way to its nat­u­ral con­clu­sion. Ca­reer best work from Ry Cooder and Nas­tassja Kin­ski.

WINGS OF DE­SIRE (1987)

Now that ev­ery id­iot with dream­catcher ear­rings be­lieves her­self to be in com­mu­nion with an­gels, Wen­ders’s Ber­lin epic is a lit­tle hard to take se­ri­ously. But it re­mains a clas­sic.

UN­TIL THE END OF THE WORLD (1989)

Fea­tur­ing a script co-writ­ten by nov­el­ist Peter Carey, the film – a fu­tur­is­tic thriller – is a ba­nal hodge­podge from be­gin­ning to end. Yet worse was to come. The Mil­lion Dol­lar Ho­tel any­one? Thought not.

BUENA VISTA SO­CIAL CLUB (1998)

This joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion of the el­derly Cuban mu­si­cians (be­low) cat­a­pulted back to din­ner-party celebrity by Wen­ders’s old pal Ry Cooder re­mains the last Wen­ders film to find a re­spect­ful au­di­ence.

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