Saturday, 22 March 2008

Movie Reviews - Wings of Desire, Yojimbo

Wings of Desire (1987)

This is a German-English language movie by Wim Wenders. Mostly German actually. The story takes place in West Berlin before the wall fell. Our main characters are angels who roam the city watching over the folks who live there. The movie ends with one of the angels becoming human after falling in love.

The bulk of the movie is taken up by the angels wandering the city listening to people's thoughts. These thoughts are mostly lengthy monologues that are almost poetry in themselves.

Now, they did make a Hollywood remake of this movie with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. But there's absolutely no comparison. The German movie fits the description of an epic. Besides, it had no script, a majority of the dialogue being a series of monologues that are not spoken but only heard by the main characters. In fact, this movie has got to contain the shortest amount of spoken dialogue by main characters with so much screen time. The Hollywood version (City of Angels) is more of a romantic movie while the German one focuses on life and its meaning. Also interesting is the way the angels see in black and white while everyone else sees in colour.

This movie has to be watched for the following reasons - excellent monologues, good acting, a guest appearance by Peter Falk (as himself and not Columbo), excellent visuals and music.

Yojimbo (1961)

A Kurosawa movie that seems to be quite similar in look and feel to a Hollywood western. The story is a bout a wandering Samurai who encounters a village divided against itself, with a lot of fighting and death going on. He decides to exploit the situation by hiring himself out as a bodyguard to the highest buyer. This does not go completely according to plan however and survival son becomes a priority. Interesting watch, though not much of a moral, unlike Kurosawa's other films.

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