I think in the 1970’s German cinema went through a bit of a renaissance with Fassbinder, Wenders and “The Tin Drum”, but I believe this is the pinnacle.
With the passing of Peter Falk, it brought this film to mind. I know he will always be remembered as his TV detective “Columbo” and none more so here when he plays himself working on a film, some youths passing ask him “Where is your mack?”
It is the story of a group of angels watching people over Berlin, one falls in love with a trapeze artist and has a desire to become human. When we are with the angels it is black and white, when we are with the humans it is in colour (just like Powell & Pressburger’s A Matter Of Life & Death).
I caught this film by accident on Channel Four after a review in the NME (New Musical Express) when the paper (note I write paper, not magazine) had a great film page and recommendations on TV for the week ahead, it was a year when there was a great selection of films on TV due to celebrating the cinema’s 100th birthday in 1995, but this was one of it’s best.
It has a lovely romantic feel of a time long gone and this was a rare thing in the 1980’s, it also might be the best film ever given away free from a newspaper when it was given away free with The Independent a few years ago.
You long for Damiel (Bruno Ganz) to become human and his first steps into the snow are magical, unfortunately Hollywood remade it as City Of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage.
DF Viewing 16/01/1995, Channel 4