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Wings Of Desire Criterion 4K UHD Review

“Wings Of Desire” is never quite as emotional as it could have been. 

In 1987’s “Wings Of Desire,” the story revolves around 2 angels (Damiel and Cassiel) in Berlin who observe humanity while hearing their innermost thoughts of fears, pains, desires, and so forth. Although they can be seen by children, adults are unable to see them. One day Damiel sees a trapeze artist (Marion) whose career is in a rut. Damiel becomes so infatuated with her that he decides to become a human mortal to experience life and love.

Directed by Wim Wenders (best known for classics like “Paris, Texas” and “Alice In The Cities”) and written by Wenders, Peter Handke and Richard Reitinger, “Wings Of Desire” is an often poetic art film about the human experience. It’s a free flowing movie that, like the angels themselves, drifts from person to person. Through the angels, we meet a variety of characters that include an elderly man and Peter Falk as himself (although there’s a nice little twist involving Falk in the movie). While the structure no doubt fits with the poetic style of the narrative, it can be frustrating too. 

For a story that is about the human experience, love and the desire to feel emotions, it feels strangely detached at times. Part of the issue is that the story veers away from Damiel and his crush on Marion for large portions of the time. It’s only in the final half-hour that the real core of the story is delved into with Damiel becoming mortal and searching for Marion. Due to the meandering style, the story is never quite as impactful as it could be. Granted, there are film fans who see this as one of those life altering cinematic experiences, but for me, it would have been nice to see the writers dig a little deeper into Damiel’s big life transition and his connection to Marion. It all felt a bit too surface level for my liking.

Performance wise, Bruno Ganz delivers a heartfelt performance as Damiel. Peter Falk steals the movie as himself making a movie in Berlin. Solveig Dommartin could have used a bit more screen time, but her often internalized performance was effective. 


Presentation: 1.66:1 2160p. How does it look? Happy to report this new 4K restoration is an improvement over the Blu-ray release. The picture quality is more refined both in the B&W and color sequences.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Viewers can expect a nice clean new audio track.

* Blu-ray copy
* 2009 commentary by Wim Wenders and Peter Falk compiled from interviews on the 4K and Blu-ray
* A booklet featuring credits, photos, the poem “Song Of Childhood” by Peter Handke, an essay by Michael Atkinson and the treatment by Wim Wenders.
* German theatrical and promo trailer.
* “Cinema Cinemas”- An episode of the French TV series featuring Wim Wenders.
* 9 deleted scenes with commentary by Wim Wenders only and nearly 7 minutes of outtakes.
* Still gallery.
* “The Angels Among Us”- A 44 minute 2003 documentary with cast and crew interviews.
* “Alekan ‘85”- Conversations with cinematographer Henri Alekan.
* “Alekan La Lumiere”- 28 minutes from the documentary about Henri Alekan.
* “Remembrance”- Excerpts from a 1982 film by directors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander about actor Curt Bois.


May 17, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , ,

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