Ernst Wilhelm Wenders
14 August 1945
|Occupation||Filmmaker, director, screenwriter, playwright, author, photographer|
(m. 1968; div. 1974)
(m. 1974; div. 1978)
(m. 1979; div. 1981)
(m. 1981; div. 1982)
for The State of Things (1982)
for Paris, Texas (1984)
Cannes Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize
for Faraway, So Close! (1993)
Silver Bear Jury Prize
for The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders (German: [ˈvɪm ˈvɛndɐs]; born 14 August 1945) is a German filmmaker, playwright, author, and photographer. He is 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.
One of Wenders's earliest honors was a win for the BAFTA Award for Best Direction for his narrative drama Paris, Texas (1984), which also won the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. Many of his subsequent films have also been recognized at Cannes, including Wings of Desire (1987), for which he won the Best Director Award at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
Wenders has been the president of the European Film Academy in Berlin since 1996. Alongside filmmaking, he is an active photographer, emphasizing images of desolate landscapes. He is considered an auteur director.
Wenders was born in Düsseldorf into a traditionally Catholic family. His father, Heinrich Wenders, was a surgeon. The Dutch name "Wim" is a shortened version of the baptismal name "Wilhelm". As a boy, Wenders took unaccompanied trips to Amsterdam to visit the Rijksmuseum. He graduated from high school in Oberhausen in the Ruhr area. He then studied medicine at the University of Freiburg (1963–64) and philosophy at the University of Dusseldorf (1964–65), but dropped out and moved to Paris in October 1966 in order to become a painter. Wenders failed his entry test at France's national film school, IDHEC (now La Fémis), and instead became an engraver at Johnny Friedlaender's studio in Montparnasse. During this time Wenders became fascinated with cinema, and saw up to five movies a day at the local movie theater.
Set on making his obsession his life's work, he returned to Germany in 1967 to work in the Düsseldorf office of United Artists. That fall, he entered the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (University of Television and Film Munich). Between 1967 and 1970, while at the "HFF", he also worked as a film critic for FilmKritik, the Munich daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Twen magazine, and Der Spiegel.
Wenders completed several short films before graduating from the Hochschule with a 16mm black-and-white film, Summer in the City (1970), his feature directorial debut.
Wenders's career began in the late 1960s, the New German Cinema era. Much of the distinctive cinematography in his movies is the result of a long-term collaboration with Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller. Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire were the result of collaborations with avant-garde authors Sam Shepard and Peter Handke. Handke's novel The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick was adapted for Wenders's second feature film, The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty. Handke co-wrote the script for Wings of Desire.
Wenders has directed several highly acclaimed documentaries, most notably Buena Vista Social Club (1999), about Cuban musicians, and The Soul of a Man (2003), on American blues. He also directed a documentary-style film on the Skladanowsky brothers, known in English as A Trick of the Light. The Skladanowsky brothers were inventing "moving pictures" when several others like the Lumière brothers and William Friese-Greene were doing the same. Buena Vista Social Club and his documentaries on Pina Bausch, Pina, and Sebastiao Salgado, The Salt of the Earth, received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Wenders has also directed many music videos for groups such as U2 and Talking Heads, including "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" and "Sax and Violins". His television commercials include a UK advertisement for Carling Premier Canadian beer.
Wenders's book Emotion Pictures, a collection of diary essays written as a film student, was adapted and broadcast as a series of plays on BBC Radio 3, featuring Peter Capaldi as Wenders, with Gina McKee, Saskia Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton and Ricky Tomlinson, dramatised by Neil Cargill.
In 2015, Wenders collaborated with artist/journalist and longtime friend Melinda Camber Porter on a documentary feature about his body of work, Wim Wenders – Visions on Film, when Porter died. The film remains incomplete.
Wenders is a member of the advisory board of World Cinema Foundation. The project was founded by Martin Scorsese and aims to find and reconstruct world cinema films that have been neglected. As of 2015 he served as a Jury Member for the digital studio Filmaka, a platform for undiscovered filmmakers to show their work to industry professionals.
In 2011, Wenders was selected to stage the 2013 cycle of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival. The project fell through when he insisted on filming in 3-D, which the Wagner family found too costly and disruptive.
In 2012, while promoting his 3-D dance film Pina, Wenders told the Documentary channel Blog that he had begun work on a new 3-D documentary about architecture. He also said he would only work in 3-D from then on. Wenders had admired the dance choreographer Pina Bausch since 1985, but only with the advent of digital 3-D cinema did he decide that he could sufficiently capture her work on screen.
In June 2017, Wenders stage-directed Georges Bizet's opera Les Pêcheurs de perles, starring Olga Peretyatko and Francesco Demuro and conducted by Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera (Staatsoper).
In a 2018 interview, Wenders said his favorite movie of all time was his film about Pope Francis, and that his entire career had been building up to it. His admiration for Francis is profound; he said he felt Francis is doing his best in a world full of calamities. He also said that, though raised Catholic, he had converted to Protestantism years earlier.
In 2019 Wenders acted as executive producer for his former assistant director Luca Lucchesi's documentary A Black Jesus, which has similar themes to Pope Francis: A Man of His Word. The film explores the role of religion in communal identity and how this can create or dissolve differences in a small Sicilian town during the height of the refugee crisis. Lucchesi noted that Wenders pushed the film to be more symbolic and philosophical, saying that Wenders wanted the film to have a "universal fairy-tale aspect" and to represent "Europe in a nutshell."
Wenders has worked with photographic images of desolate landscapes and themes of memory, time, loss, nostalgia and movement. He began his long-running project "Pictures from the Surface of the Earth" in the early 1980s and pursued it for 20 years. The initial photographic series was titled "Written in the West" and was produced while Wenders criss-crossed the American West in preparation for his film Paris, Texas (1984). It became the starting point for a nomadic journey across the globe, including Germany, Australia, Cuba, Israel and Japan, to take photographs capturing the essence of a moment, place or space.
Wenders has received many awards, including the Golden Lion for The State of Things at the Venice Film Festival (1982); the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival for his movie Paris, Texas; and Best Direction for Wings of Desire in the 1987 Bavarian Film Awards and the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. He won the Bavarian Film Awards for Best Director for Faraway, So Close! in 1993. In 2004, he received the Master of Cinema Award of the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg. He was awarded the Leopard of Honour at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2005. In 2012, his dance film Pina was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature of the 84th Academy Awards. Wenders also received a nomination for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay for the film.
He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Sorbonne in Paris in 1989, the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in 1995 and the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium in 2005.
The Wim Wenders Foundation was established in Düsseldorf in 2012. The foundation provides a framework to bring together his cinematic, photographic, artistic and literary works in his native country and to make it permanently accessible to the public.
Wenders was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015. In 2016, Wenders received the Großer Kulturpreis of the Sparkassen Culture-Foundation Rhineland, one of the highest-endowed cultural honorings in Germany, with previous winners such as photographer legend Hilla Becher, sculptor Tony Cragg, musician Wolfgang Niedecken and director Sönke Wortmann. In 2017, Wenders received the Douglas Sirk Award at the Hamburg Film Festival.
Wenders lives and works in Berlin with his wife, Donata. He has lived in Berlin since the mid-1970s. He is an ecumenical Christian; as a teenager he wished to become a Catholic priest. He supports German football club Borussia Dortmund.
In 2009, Wenders signed a petition in support of director Roman Polanski, who had been detained while traveling to a film festival in relation to his 1977 sexual abuse charges, which the petition argued would undermine the tradition of film festivals as a place for works to be shown "freely and safely" and argued that arresting filmmakers traveling to neutral countries could open the door to "actions of which no-one can know the effects."
|Year||English title||German title||Notes|
|1970||Summer in the City||First full-length feature film (dedicated to The Kinks)|
|1972||The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty (UK) or The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (USA)||Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter||Adaptation of a novel by Peter Handke|
|1973||The Scarlet Letter||Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe||Adapted from the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|1974||Alice in the Cities||Alice in den Städten||First part of Wenders's Road Movie Trilogy|
|1975||The Wrong Move||Falsche Bewegung||Second part of Wenders's Road Movie Trilogy|
|1976||Kings of the Road||Im Lauf der Zeit||Third part of Wenders's Road Movie Trilogy|
|1977||The American Friend||Der Amerikanische Freund||Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Ripley's Game|
|1980||Lightning Over Water||Documentary co-directed by Nicholas Ray|
|1982||Hammett||Based on a novel by Joe Gores|
|Room 666||"Chambre 666"||Short documentary|
|1982||"Reverse Angle"||Short film documents Wenders's disputes with Coppola during Hammett|
|The State of Things||Stand der Dinge|
|1987||Wings of Desire||Der Himmel über Berlin|
|1989||Notebook on Cities and Clothes||Aufzeichnungen zu Kleidern und Städten||Documentary|
|1991||Until the End of the World||Bis ans Ende der Welt|
|1992||"Arisha, the Bear and the Stone Ring"||"Arisha, der Bär und der steinerne Ring"|
|1993||Faraway, So Close!||In weiter Ferne, so nah!||Sequel to Wings of Desire|
|1994||Lisbon Story||Partially a sequel to The State of Things|
|1995||A Trick of Light||Die Gebrüder Skladanowsky||Also known as The Brothers Skladanowsky|
|Lumière et compagnie||Anthology film made in collaboration between forty-one international film directors|
|1997||The End of Violence||Am Ende der Gewalt|
|1998||Willie Nelson at the Teatro|
|1999||Buena Vista Social Club||Documentary|
|2000||The Million Dollar Hotel|
|2002||Ode to Cologne: A Rock 'N' Roll Film||Viel passiert – Der BAP-Film||Documentary about the Cologne rock group BAP|
|"Twelve Miles to Trona"||Segment from Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet|
|2003||"Other Side of the Road"||Short|
|2003||The Soul of a Man||Documentary from the documentary series The Blues|
|2004||Land of Plenty||based on a story by Scott Derrickson, with Michelle Williams and John Diehl|
|2005||Don't Come Knocking||Script by Wenders and Sam Shepard|
|2007||"Invisible Crimes"||Documentary segment of Invisibles|
|"War in Peace"||Segment of To Each His Own Cinema|
|2008||Palermo Shooting||Dedicated to Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni|
|"Person to Person"||Segment of 8|
|2010||"If Buildings Could Talk"||Short documentary about the Rolex Learning Center|
|"Il volo"||Short documentary about immigrants|
|2011||Pina||Documentary filmed in 3D|
|2012||"Ver ou Não Ver"||Segment of Mundo Invisível|
|2014||"The Berlin Philharmonic"||Documentary segment of Cathedrals of Culture|
|The Salt of the Earth||Das Salz der Erde||Documentary|
|2015||Every Thing Will Be Fine|
|2016||The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez||Die schönen Tage von Aranjuez||Based on the play for two persons by Peter Handke, filmed in 3D|
|2017||Submergence||Grenzenlos||Adaptation from war journalist JM Ledgard's novel|
|2018||Pope Francis: A Man of His Word||Papst Franziskus – Ein Mann seines Wortes||Documentary|
|1990||"Night and Day"||Music video for U2|
|1992||"Sax and Violins"||Music video for Talking Heads|
|1993||"Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"||Music video for U2|
|1997||"Every Time I Try"||Music video for Spain|
|2000||"The Ground Beneath Her Feet"||Music video for U2|
|"Un matin partout dans le monde"||Commercial for JCDecaux|
|"Warum werde ich nicht satt?"||Music video for Die Toten Hosen|
|2001||"Souljacker Part I"||Music video for Eels|
|2002||"Live in a Hiding Place"||Music video for Idlewild|
|2009||"My Point of View"||Commercial for Leica|
|"Auflösen"||Music video for Die Toten Hosen|
|2017-2018||Jil Sander: Spring/Summer 2018||Commercials for Jil Sander|
|2020||"Anagnorisis"||Music video for Asaf Avidan|
|1977||The Left-Handed Woman||producer|
|1979||Radio On||associate producer|
|...als diesel geboren||producer|
|1987||Iron Earth, Copper Sky|
|1995||Beyond the Clouds||screenwriter|
|1997||Go for Gold!||producer|
|2002||Half the Rent|
|2004||"La torcedura"||executive producer|
|Música cubana||executive producer|
|2006||The House Is Burning|
|2008||The Clone Returns Home|
|2009||The Open Road|
|2010||Au Revoir, Taipei|
|2012||Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle|
|2015||Our Last Tango||executive producer|
|2017||"Little Hands"||executive producer|
|2018||It Must Schwing: The Blue Note Story|
|Waiting for the Miracle to Come|
|2020||A Black Jesus||producer|
|Karen Dalton: In My Own Time||executive producer|
|2021||United States vs. Reality Winner|
"The Space Between the Characters Can Carry the Load", Collection Ivo Wessel, Weserburg Museum for modern Art, Bremen, DE
"Instant Stories/Wim Wenders’ Polaroids", The Photographers' Gallery, London, from 20 October 2017 to 11 February 2018.
Two or Three Things I Know About Edward Hopper
((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)