The Cinema of Wim Wenders: the celluloid highway
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Wim Wenders has attracted a great deal of critical comment, with numerous monographs, articles and volumes of collected essays having appeared over the last two decades. The approach of this volume is to address the shortcomings of previous analyses by seeking not to identify unifying features in his work in order to summarize the contribution Wim Wenders has made to world cinema history, but instead to address possible creative motives behind the weak plots and narratives for which his films are most often criticised in these works. The study reveals a profound sense in Wenders' personal moral code of an incompatibility that exists between the respective demands of and on the two central components of film – images and story – as lying at the heart of the aesthetic choices he makes. Suspicious of traditional narrative dominance in western cinemas, in particular Hollywood, Wenders has developed a keen interest for the ontology of the image to the extent that he refuses to lend the stories he certainly does tell in his films the authority of truth and knowledge as an information-transmitting device. On the other hand, this study asserts, Wenders values the structure narrative can bring to filmed images. Closely analysing six of Wenders' films in a separate chapter, this study concludes that Wenders employs a loose, episodic narrative structure, often combined, in his earlier years, with the road movie format, as a strategy to guarantee that story is never allowed to develop into a dominant and determining factor in his films, and in order to assert the very act of recording and showing profilmic events (both visual and audio) as a creative act in its own right. The book was reviewed in TLS, December 13 2002; in the journal "Film-Philosophy" (2004), and in "SCOPE", February 2005, amongst others.