I saw Wim Wenders’ new film, Palermo Shooting, at the Berlin & Beyond festival last night. I also saw Wim Wenders, who was there to receive a lifetime achievement award. If the Castro wasn’t sold out, it was close to it.
After four people came onstage to talk about Wenders’ effect on their lives, the filmmaker came took the microphone to accept the award. He told a funny story about the first time he attended a series of his films in the Bay Area, then refused to comment on the movie we were about to see. "There should be a law against filmmakers describing a film before it is seen."
There’s no such rule for bloggers, so here’s what I thought about Palermo Shooting: This is a very strange film, and I mean that in the best possible way. The protagonist, Finn (German rock star Campino) is a successful photographer doing both serious art and fashion shoots–and the fashion shoots seem more fulfilling as art. His life is a fine line between reality and hallucination, and after a brush with death he goes to Sicily–perhaps to recover his equilibrium. Things only get weirder. Let’s just say the movie is about embracing death so you can embrace life, and that Dennis Hopper has a small but wonderful, funny, and pivotal part.
Wenders came on stage again for some Q&A after the movie. Most of the questions involved Palermo Shooting, and would be meaningless if you haven’t seen it. But there are some highlights:
About digital photography: "The negative was the truth of the moment. With digital you can delete the moment. Photographs can’t prove anything anymore."
OTOH, he thinks digital is just fine for motion pictures, which have always been about illusion, anyway. "In film, digital added something but didn’t change the ball game. In photography, it changed the ball game."
He likes road pictures because people tend to shoot them in sequence. Even the money people want you to shoot them in sequence. "For any young filmmaker, there’s nothing better than to shoot one movie in chronological order."
Images: Berlin & Beyond