Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter

1972, West Germany/Austria, directed by Wim Wenders (aka The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty)

I first saw this in my mid-teens when it played on TV, before I had seen any other Wenders films, and I was pretty nonplussed -- although intrigued enough to stay with it. It's a pretty significant step up from here to Alice in den Städten and yet this film is still an impressive work in terms of Wenders' intent and ability to deliver thereon. I recently watched an interview with Wenders, filmed much more recently, in which he spoke of his youthful sense of an absence of history, or at the very least an absence of the discussion of history, in postwar Germany, with its literally unspeakable acts. I can't help but hear an echo of that broader need for confrontation with the past in this early film: the central character's own terrible act colours everything that comes afterwards and yet he simply goes on living. Of course, that's only one reading of the film -- it's a film that practically invites you to project your own viewpoint, though it's become remarkably hard to see the film these days.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States