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  • Close-up on the faces of a woman and man, sitting in train seats.
  • A woman looks out the window of a train car.

Wim Wenders’


Sunday, May 12

(1975) “This 1975 drama by Wim Wenders, a loose adaptation of the primordial bildungsroman, Goethe’s “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship,” is one of his best films. Wenders’ modern Wilhelm (Rüdiger Vogler) is a young bourgeois man with a great record collection and a head full of frustrated ambitions, who escapes from his family home into an artist’s life. En route to Bonn (West Germany’s capital), Wilhelm joins a group of performers, including the acrobat Mignon (Nastassja Kinski, in her first film) and the actress Therese (Hanna Schygulla). Wenders grafts the novelistic framework onto a road movie that’s a virtual documentary of West German sights and moods. What he finds is a country that’s hemmed in by its prosperity and burdened by the undigested weight of its horrific history. With a contemplative eye for cityscapes, he sees the sleek forms of postwar German architecture as mirrors within mirrors that stifle thought by means of style. Wenders looks at young rockers through a lens of high culture and applies the theatrical fervor of the Enlightenment to the rumpled rounds of modern buskers. Linking Germany’s grand literary heritage to the indelible national stain of Nazi-era depravities, he turns a self-consciously casual ramble into a vast soul-searching.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker. DCP. Approx. 103 min.

Part of Wim Wenders’ Road Trilogy.


Film Forum