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Wim Wenders (Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders)

Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders is a German filmmaker, playwright, author, photographer, and a major figure in New German Cinema. Among many honors, he has received three nominations for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature: for Buena Vista Social Club (1999), about Cuban music culture, Pina (2011), about the contemporary dance choreographer Pina Bausch, and The Salt of the Earth (2014), about Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Background

  • Wenders was born in Düsseldorf into a traditionally Catholic family. His father, Heinrich Wenders, was a surgeon. The use of the Dutch name "Wim" is a shortened version of the baptismal name "Wilhelm/Willem". As a boy, he took unaccompanied trips to Amsterdam to visit the Rijksmuseum.

  • Education

    • He graduated from high school in Oberhausen in the Ruhr area. He then studied medicine (1963–64) and philosophy (1964–65) in Freiburg and Düsseldorf. However, he dropped out of university studies and moved to Paris in October 1966 to become a painter. Wenders failed his entry test at France's national film school IDHEC (now La Fémis), and instead became an engraver in the studio of Johnny Friedlander, in Montparnasse. During this time, Wenders became fascinated with cinema, and saw up to five movies a day at the local movie theater.

    Career

    • During the late 1960s Wenders studied film at the Munich Film Academy while working as a film critic. After directing eight short films for the academy, he made his first feature film, the thriller Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter (1971; The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick). In 1976 he wrote, directed, and produced Im Lauf der Zeit (“In the Course of Time”; Eng. title Kings of the Road), a “buddy” picture pairing a linguist with a movie-projector repairman who can barely communicate as they travel across Germany together. Der amerikanische Freund (1977; The American Friend), based on Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game, explores the concept of dislocation, or separation. For this film, Wenders cast his longtime idol, film director Nicholas Ray, and the two later collaborated on the documentary Lightning over Water (1980), about the last days of Ray’s life.

      In 1978 Wenders went to Hollywood to direct Hammett, the story of American detective fiction writer Dashiell Hammett. Disputes between Wenders and executive producer Francis Ford Coppola resulted in the release of only a truncated version some years later. The difficulties Wenders encountered with Hammett served as inspiration for Der Stand der Dinge (1982; The State of Things), which depicts the mishaps of a film production in Portugal. Wenders achieved international fame in 1984 with the release of Paris, Texas, which was cowritten by Sam Shepard. The lyrical drama about a man in the American Southwest who is physically and spiritually lost won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival. Three years later Wenders received the best-director award at Cannes for the hauntingly beautiful Der Himmel über Berlin (“Heaven over Berlin”; Eng. title Wings of Desire), in which angels roam modern-day Berlin. The film’s sequel, In weiter Ferne, so nah! (1993; Faraway, So Close!), however, was far less successful artistically.

      Wenders’s films are notable for their lush visual imagery, largely because of the talents of his most frequent collaborator, the cinematographer Robby Müller. Wenders’s later work includes Lisbon Story (1995), a sequel to The State of Things; the thriller The End of Violence (1997); the ensemble mystery The Million Dollar Hotel (2000); and the drama Palermo Shooting (2008). He also directed the documentaries Buena Vista Social Club (1999), about a group of veteran Cuban musicians; Pina (2011), a 3-D tribute to German choreographer Pina Bausch; and The Salt of the Earth (2014), a chronicle of the career of photojournalist Sebastião Salgado.

    Works

    • Written in the West
    • Preparing his movie Paris, Texas in late 1983, German filmmaker Wim Wenders travelled the West equipped with a 6x7 medium format camera in search of subjects and locations that would bring this desolate landscape to life.
    • Wim Wenders: Written in the West (Schirmer art books)
    • Preparing his movie Paris, Texas in late 1983, German filmmaker Wim Wenders travelled the West equipped with a 6x7 medium format camera in search of subjects and locations that would bring this desolate landscape to life.
    • The Act of Seeing: Essays and Conversations
    • A third volume of essays in which the German film director Wim Wenders addresses architecture, fashion, cities, video technology, and the shape of Europe after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
    • The Act of Seeing: Essays and Conversations
    • A third volume of essays in which the German film director Wim Wenders addresses architecture, fashion, cities, video technology, and the shape of Europe after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

    Membership

    Akademie der kiinste.

    Personality

    Winders remains romantically itinerant, in love with music, America, and the idea of the movies. But he is closing in on sixty, and nothing lately has been as big or as cogent as one would like to see. Not that one isn't appreciative: it was Wenders’s tact and assistance that helped Antonioni to make another film far from worthless and altogether cleaner than the earlier hero-worship of Nick Ray; Buena Vista Social Club is a delight if a little monotonous. On the other hand, The End of Violence is pretentious and silly, and no feature film has really reminded us of the younger Wenders. In America is a project involving Sam Shepard, and one can only say that they both need the best in each other.

    Connections

    • spouses: Edda Köchl
    • Lisa Kreuzer
    • Isabelle Weingarten
    • Donata Wenders
    Wim Wenders
    See on larger map
    Born August 14, 1945
    (age 72)
    Nationality
    Ethnicity:
    • 1967 - present
      Film director
      Germany

    Award

    Contributor  

    Elizaveta Chadovich

    last changed 30/05/2017 view changes
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    • Works
      • Director films including Summer in the City, 1970, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, 1972, The Scarlet Letter, 1974, Alice in the Cities, 1974, The Wrong Move, 1975, Kings of the Road, 1976, The American Friend, 1977, Lightning Over Water (Nick's Movie, with Nicholas Ray), 1980, The State of Things, 1982, Hammett, 1982, Paris, Texas, 1984 (Palme d'Or, Cannes International Film Festival), Tokyo-Ga, 1985, Wings of Desire, 1987 (Best Director, Cannes International Film Festival), Aufzeichnungen zu Kleiderund Stadten, 1989, Until the End of the World, 1991, Far Away, So Close, 1993 (Cannes International Film Festival Grand Prize). Co-director Par Dela' Les Nuages, 1995, Lumiere et Compagnie, 1995, A Trick of the Light, 1996. Writer, director Beyond the Clouds, 1995, The End of Violence, 1997, Willie Nelson at the Teatro, 1998, Ode to Cologne: A Rock 'N' Roll Film, 2002, The Soul of a Man, 2003, Land of Plenty, 2004, Don't Come Knocking, 2005. Director, producer The Million Dollar Hotel, 2000. Producer Half the Rent, 2002, June Moon, 2002, Fools, 2003. Executive producer La Torcedura, 2004, Musica cubana, 2004. Author: Emotion Pictures, 1986, Written in the West, 1987, Die Logik de Bilder, 1988, The Act of Seeing, 1992, Million Dollar Hotel, 1999, Buena Vista Social Club, 1999.
      • book: Nick's film, Lightning over water (German and English Edition)
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      • book: Nicks Film Lightning Over Water Nicholas Ray
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      • book: Der Himmel Ueber Berlin / Wings of Desire (German Edition)
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      • book: Written in the West
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      • book: Die Logik der Bilder
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      • book: The Act of Seeing: Essays and Conversations
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      • book: Wim Wenders: The Heart is a Sleeping Beauty: The Million Dollar Hotel; A Film Book
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      • book: Buena Vista Social Club
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      • book: Buena Vista Social Club (Spanish Edition)
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      • book: Buena Vista Social Club
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      • book: Wim Wenders: Written in the West (Schirmer art books)
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      • book: The act of seeing: Texte und Gesprache (Filmbibliothek) (German Edition)
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      • book: Buena Vista Social Club by Wenders, Wim (2000) Paperback
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      • book: BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB: le livre du film.
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      • book: Buena Vista Social Club: The Book of the Film
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      • book: El acto de ver / the Act of Seeing: Textos Y Conversaciones (Paidos La Memoria Del Cine) (Spanish Edition)
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      • book: Buena Vista Social Club. Con videocassetta
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      • book: Wings of Desire / the American Friend
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      • book: The Act of Seeing: Essays and Conversations
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      • book: Act of Seeing Essays & Conversations
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      • Director films including Summer in the City, 1970, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, 1972, The Scarlet Letter, 1974, Alice in the Cities, 1974, The Wrong Move, 1975, Kings of the Road, 1976, The American Friend, 1977, Lightning Over Water (Nick's Movie, with Nicholas Ray), 1980, The State of Things, 1982, Hammett, 1982, Paris, Texas, 1984 (Palme d'Or, Cannes International Film Festival), Tokyo-Ga, 1985, Wings of Desire, 1987 (Best Director, Cannes International Film Festival), Aufzeichnungen zu Kleiderund Stadten, 1989, Until the End of the World, 1991, Far Away, So Close, 1993 (Cannes International Film Festival Grand Prize). Co-director Par Dela' Les Nuages, 1995, Lumiere et Compagnie, 1995, A Trick of the Light, 1996. Writer, director Beyond the Clouds, 1995, The End of Violence, 1997, Willie Nelson at the Teatro, 1998, Ode to Cologne: A Rock 'N' Roll Film, 2002, The Soul of a Man, 2003, Land of Plenty, 2004, Don't Come Knocking, 2005.Director, producer The Million Dollar Hotel, 2000. Producer Half the Rent, 2002, June Moon, 2002, Fools, 2003. Executive producer La Torcedura, 2004, Musica cubana, 2004.Author: Emotion Pictures, 1986, Written in the West, 1987, Die Logik de Bilder, 1988, The Act of Seeing, 1992, Million Dollar Hotel, 1999, Buena Vista Social Club, 1999.
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