1007 Until the End of the World

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
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1007 Until the End of the World

#1 Post by swo17 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:32 pm

Until the End of the World

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Conceived as the ultimate road movie, this decades-in-the-making science-fiction epic from Wim Wenders follows the restless Claire Tourneur (Solveig Dommartin) across continents as she pursues a mysterious stranger (William Hurt) in possession of a device that can make the blind see and bring dream images to waking life. With an eclectic soundtrack that gathers a host of the director's favorite musicians, along with gorgeous cinematography by Robby Müller, this breathless adventure in the shadow of Armageddon takes its heroes to the ends of the earth and into the oneiric depths of their own souls. Presented here in its triumphant 287-minute director's cut, Until the End of the World assumes its rightful place as Wenders' magnum opus, a cosmic ode to the pleasures and perils of the image and a prescient meditation on cinema's digital future.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, commissioned by the Wim Wenders Foundation and supervised by director Wim Wenders, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New introduction by Wenders
• New interview with Wenders about the film's soundtrack
• New conversation between Wenders and musician David Byrne
• Behind-the-scenes program detailing the creation of the film's high-definition sequences
• Interview with Wenders from 2001
Up Down Under Roma, a 1993 interview with Wenders on his experiences in Australia
The Song, a short film by Uli M Schueppel detailing the recording of "(I'll Love You) Till the End of the World" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
• Deleted scenes
• Trailer
• PLUS: Essays by critics Bilge Ebiri and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on the film and its soundtrack

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solaris72
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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#2 Post by solaris72 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:36 pm

I imagine the difference between the 287 minute runtime Criterion is listing and the 295 minute runtime advertised during the full-length cut's theatrical run is just the intermission?

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#3 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:37 pm

Haven't seen this since watching a decade ago or so via the big German set that didn't subtitle any of the foreign languages, but I don't really remember much about it one way or the other, to be honest. Pleasantly surprised that they didn't jack the MSRP up for such a long film, though, so I may give it another shot

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#4 Post by movielocke » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:21 pm

solaris72 wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:36 pm
I imagine the difference between the 287 minute runtime Criterion is listing and the 295 minute runtime advertised during the full-length cut's theatrical run is just the intermission?
I would guess the difference is 8 minutes of black leader in the theatrical prints run time to function as an intermission, since the projection platter system makes reel based intermissions impossible for theatres to execute, black leader is used instead to space it out an actual intermission.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#5 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:23 pm

Was the director’s cut actually delivered to theatres in anything but a DCP though?

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#6 Post by movielocke » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:25 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:23 pm
Was the director’s cut actually delivered to theatres in anything but a DCP though?
Ah! same situation as a platter projection then, like Hateful Eight, you have to build in the actual amount of time of black filler into a DCP to create an intermission.

Reel based projection has the end of the reel with the intermission card/exit music, and the next reel starts up with the intermission card, entry music, but it's up to the theatre how much intermission time to allow before starting the next reel, can be dependent on bathroom lines and concession sales at reperatory.

This is currently priced standard (39.95 and 29.95) for Blu and DVD, which given they are 2 disc and 3 disc sets respectively, is almost certainly a pricing error.

I didn't think they'd release a film longer than war and peace in 2019! (tv shows like berlin alexanderplatz excepted)

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#7 Post by Adam » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:25 pm

I remember the short version being ho-hum, but the long version was pretty wonderful and absorbing. Also, I saw that in a time before DCPs, and I believe I saw it at the American Cinematheque, and Wenders was there, so I think there was at least one print.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#8 Post by ivuernis » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:28 pm

solaris72 wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:36 pm
I imagine the difference between the 287 minute runtime Criterion is listing and the 295 minute runtime advertised during the full-length cut's theatrical run is just the intermission?
Yes, I have the German Arthaus edition of the Director's Cut which is spread out over 3 discs:

Part 1: 97 mins (with 2 mins title credits)
Part 2: 91.5 mins (with 2 mins title credits)
Part 3: 90.5 mins (with 2 mins title credits and 5 mins end credits)

Subtracting the intro titles from P2 and P3 gives a total running time of 275 mins, but this is PAL so add 4% to convert to NTSC giving a running time of 286 mins.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#9 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:46 pm

Here are some old posts from the Wim Wenders thread. zedz's first:
zedz wrote:
Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:57 pm
Until the End of the World

When this first came out, my reaction was one of dismay. I was on a bit of a Wenders kick, having recently seen many of his great 70s films for the first time, plus The State of Things. I'd been less thrilled by his US films, but Wings of Desire had hit me as a triumph of pure cinema, and was probably one of my favourite films at the time.

And then this farrago. It was bewilderingly bad, and its badness had an uncanny clarity, as if all of Wenders' wrong moves were laid out before you on the screen.

To summarise, the gaudy first half seemed little more than filler: international locations, cameos-a-go-go, but thin on content with a repetitive catch-and-release structure. The second half in the outback had the opposite problem - this was where the film's real ideas resided, but it seemed rushed and cheap, and Wenders' cinematic vision seemed to fail him badly at the crucial juncture (a scientific laboratory in a cave? Where'd you get a CRAZY idea like that?) As if this wasn't bad enough, the back of the film was broken by largely mediocre performances and some really abysmal dialogue. The audience I saw it with was right with the film at the start but gradually lost their will to live. When, after two and a half hours, Sam Neill's narrator announces something like "we thought it was over, but our story was only beginning", a collective groan went through us like a Mexican Wave. Wenders' cinema never really seemed to recover from this debacle.

So I approached the full-length version with equal parts trepidation and optimism. The extension could theoretically have resolved some of the pacing issues, at least.

Well, sort of. The film's problems are all still there, and some have even been amplified. The final act is better paced, but the first, globe-trotting part still masks narrative stasis with the illusion of forward motion, and once the gang gets to Coober Pedy we don't even have that illusion to cling to.

The performance problems are even clearer in long-form. Solveig Dommartin just can't carry a film. She was appropriately decorative in Wings of Desire, and pretty good in S'en fout la mort, but in both cases she was just playing back-up to much stronger actors (in the latter, when you're up against Alex Descas and Jean-Claude Brialy in full flight the smart thing to do is get out of their way). Here she's clearly The Director's Girlfriend (and she even gets to sing The Director's Favourite Song - not very well, but even that can't drain the emotion from Ray Davies at his songwriting peak) and the only particular skill she brings to the role is her ability to speak several languages. She does a bad drunk, and she never brings much depth to the more demanding scenes. Her character's personality is narrated at us (by another character, even) rather than acted out.

She's not alone. William Hurt's performance is phoned in; Sam Neill is awful and unformed throughout (and his purple narration is particularly irritating); Jeanne Moreau is hopelessly constrained in what should be the film's emotional centre; David Gulpilil has even less latitude - so much wasted talent, and so little chemistry between any of them. Only Rudiger Vogler manages to invest his character (old standby Philip Winter) with any real spark of personality, and he's given almost nothing to do.

The dialogue is a big problem. So much of it is clunky and expository that it kills everything on screen, reducing a promising science fiction premise to movie-of-the-week platitudes. Here's a gem from William Hurt: "All I want is for my mother to see, and for my father to know that I love him." Isn't it cosy that the end of the world can be reduced to such familiar dynamics?

Unfortunately, my favourite line from the short version (which must have required even more bald exposition) seems to be missing from the long one. It had long been my gold standard for a magical convergence of a bad line and a bad line delivery, when Neill's character petulantly spits: "You've just become junkies on your own dreams!" This version doesn't even have that camp payoff.

I assume this four and a half hour version was developed for television, as each of the three 'episodes' are of equal length, carry titles and credits and use the opening narration to recap what's gone before. I confess I could only digest it in instalments. Although the film's structure is better balanced overall, with the denouement less rushed, it's still unforgivably overextended. Wenders assembles a huge cast of characters but has no idea what to do with them. Most of them are all but superfluous even on their first appearance, so when they all wind up in the desert, their superfluity is even more pronounced. Wenders' solution in the long cut is that all of these pointless characters form a band, which is, conceptually at least, pretty funny. Not so funny when you have to watch lots of scenes of jam sessions, or the film that precedes them.

Which brings me to the music: the film has a rather daunting bespoke soundtrack (U2, Nick Cave, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, a resurfaced Patti Smith, a reformed Can - a good mark of the accrued good will Wenders was burning through with this project) but to me it's incredibly badly integrated into the film, songs just tacked onto the background of scenes. It's particularly mystifying when you consider how great Wenders' instincts for pop music in films used to be, and how perfectly the sound and images were integrated in Wings of Desire (think of Laurie Anderson in the library; or 'From Her to Eternity' - one of the great uses of a rock performance in film). The songs are generally good and evocative (notable exceptions being Lou Reed's atrocious bar-band drivel 'What's Good' and the lame, anthemic song that closes the film), they're just unimaginatively thrown in, much as you'd expect from a Hollywood smash-and-grab soundtrack.

The premise of the film is one I think is actually really strong: a great technological breakthrough (allowing the blind to see) gets sidetracked into solipsism because of its unplanned but implicit alternative uses. It's a grand theme (the perils of self-interest, particularly in the scientific realm), but it's left until the very last section of the film and saddled with so much other banal bumf (dysfunctional-family psychodrama; indigenous romanticisation; millennial paranoia; joyless globe-trotting) that it doesn't get the attention it warrants. By this point everyone seems to be so exhausted that the film just explains in voiceover or dialogue what it should be delicately suggesting.

So what else went wrong? Wim was presumably too besotted with Solveig to acknowledge her limitations, or even to use the over-stuffed cast to shoulder some of her burden. He also seems to have seen this as his chance to do something really big, but that's hardly where his strengths as a filmmaker lie. Even his most ambitious previous films (Kings of the Road, Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) were essentially about a handful of characters and their interrelationships - and that's the film that's buried deep under the glossy distractions of this one as well. So the film comes off as a great big, undisciplined splurge, with Wenders vamping ineffectually through too many iconic locations and faltering when he gets to the material that should have worked best - there's a clear yearning for the visionary imagery of Walkabout in several sequences of the second half, but in most cases it doesn't amount to much more than your generic TV-series canyon shoot. It's a film that falls at every fence, but there's nevertheless something perversely admirable about it. I'm certainly fonder of it than of many of his subsequent, similarly compromised but less ambitious, features.
colinr0380 wrote:
Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:23 am
Excellent posts. I've not seen the full length version yet but I recently rewatched the shorter one and while I would not be as harsh on it as zedz I can definitely understand where he is coming from! I would particularly agree on the music front. The way most of the music is blown through with token snippets in the background of the early scenes has got tostand as the most wasteful use of a soundtrack in cinema history!
Tommaso wrote:Some of the problems that you mention might disappear if you look at the film from a particular angle, and that is: it's a film about seeing, and also about movie-making and the history of the movies.
zedz wrote:To summarise, the gaudy first half seemed little more than filler: international locations, cameos-a-go-go, but thin on content with a repetitive catch-and-release structure.
True, but I think that Wenders quite consciously adopts typical cliches of noir/crime thrillers etc., and the repetitive structure only serves to highlight the generic formulas here. I actually always liked this part, because I had the feeling that Wenders took the formula and made fun of it (think of Vogler's character, for instance). That the characters are all flat might be of course a by-product of the bad acting, but I think it also helps the intentional stereotyping. And regardless of Wim's intentions or failures, I find the visuals stunningly beautiful all the time...
I would agree with Tommaso and would also add that I feel all Wenders' films are more about the journey than the arrival, which is often why the climax of his later films like this and The End Of Violence feel like letdowns from the point of view of narrative payoff.

I also feel that Until The End Of The World is about people ignoring what is going on around them that they have no influence over to live in their own fantasies (perhaps the one prescient 'futuristic' idea in the film). Claire Tourneur is the main example as she has absolutely no direction, just driving aimlessly around until she gets caught up in an obsession with Farber and the whole first section of the film seems to be about the way all the different, fascinating locations are being ignored (strangely like the music, they are literally reduced to the background) in favour of Tourneur's chase of Farber.

Through that first section Farber looks purposeful but what is interesting is that in the second half of the film where we find out about his work it is just as much an attempt to escape from the world as Tourneur's is. There is complete indifference to whether the outside world has ended or not because it really doesn't matter to Tourneur or Farber. It would seem that for Farber the outside world was just something he had to endure to collect images to show to his mother (if we are being uncharitable towards his character the film could be seen as a cautionary tale about the lengths a bore will go to to force someone to see his holiday snaps! "Blind, you say? Well let me hook you up to this machine and we'll see about that! You will see the pictures of myself and the wife on holiday in Japan!")

And even then, it is less about his relationship with his mother than his father. For me it creates the idea that the film is trying to say that people don't do anything for 'humanity' in the abstract, instead they create things because of their attachments to people they know. It follows from that perhaps that really the only person Farber is interested in is himself, which is why we get the final section of the Farbers and Tourneur watching their own dreams through their invention and wandering obliviously through the landscape - they're literally caught in a cycle of self-regard. Who needs others? (That is why I quite like the "junkie of your own dreams" line, even if it is a bit on the nose)

But then, and this is why I feel Sam Neill's voiceover is so important, the film is filtered through the eyes of an outsider to all this introspective, narcissistic, blinkered action. He is also a writer, who of course needs other people to read his work to be considered a writer (he can't just read his account himself) and we could suggest that writing and reading is a process of asking the reader to create their own images for the story rather than pursue a definitive image of their dreams - it is a different way of probing your mind and one which you can turn outward to suggest your idea of the world to others rather than inward where you are just defining yourself to yourself in an act of mental masturbation.

However he could be seen as just as flawed as Claire as he facilitates the round the world trip (just as it seems likely that he facilitated her aimless drifting around before and at the start of the film) by providing her with cash! In that sense, if we are continuing with the "junkie on your dreams" idea, Eugene was her old dealer who is upset that Claire's hooked up with the guy pushing the latest drug and has unceremoniously dumped him! It also makes the ending where Eugene forces Claire to go cold turkey on the dream machine more powerful as he was obviously never able to deny her anything before.

Also, at what point did Eugene decide to write his account? Did Eugene let Claire run round the world (and has he always let her drift aimlessly about, getting into different situations) to simply get material from her?

It is an extremely strange film, equating looking inwards too much with travelling the world and not seeing anything. It is as wasteful in construction as the characters are wasteful in the pursuit of their goals. It would seem to be mostly about the pleasures of the journey rather than the inevitably always disappointing arrival (even when Jeanne Moreau is there to greet you!), but at the same time the journey could be suggested to be useless only when we are not aware of our surroundings.

I find it flawed, clunky and terribly dated but also a strangely earnest and touching film. I'm not sure I would defend Million Dollar Hotel as much! (but I do think it shares some of the same qualities of ennui and technological disconnection with The End of Violence
I absolutely love this film, but with the above proviso that I have only seen the three hour version and even there you have to be prepared to luxuriate in the langorous longueurs! Despite its use in the film this has perhaps one of the best soundtrack albums in film history, and almost perfectly encapsulates the early 1990s:

Opening Titles by Graeme Revell (Solo cello by David Darling)
Sax and Violins by Talking Heads (hence David Byrne turning up in the extras!)
Summer Kisses, Winter Tears by Julee Cruise
Move with Me (Dub) by Neneh Cherry
The Adversary by Crime & The City Solution
What's Good by Lou Reed
Last Night Sleep by Can
Fretless by R.E.M.
Days by Elvis Costello
Claire's Theme by Graeme Revell (Solo cello by David Darling)
(I'll love you) till the end of the world by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
It Takes Time by Patti Smith and Fred Smith
Death's Door by Depeche Mode
Love Theme by Graeme Revell (Solo cello by David Darling)
Calling All Angels by k.d. lang and Jane Siberry
Humans From Earth by T Bone Burnett
Sleeping In The Devil's Bed by Daniel Lanois
And of course the title track Until The End of the World by U2
Finale by Graeme Revell (Solo cello by David Darling)

Plus of course for Ozu fans there's a brief cameo from Chisu Ryu and Kuniko Miyake. For Roeg fans there's David Gulpilil from Walkabout.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

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soundchaser
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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#10 Post by soundchaser » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:49 pm

About the only mark on the soundtrack is that the version of "Blood of Eden" on Peter Gabriel's Us is a superior recording.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#11 Post by dustybooks » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:52 pm

I'm more familiar with the soundtrack than I am with the film. Coincidentally I recently rediscovered "Sax and Violins," which may be the best Talking Heads song from the post-Little Creatures era (and prompted a relatively forgettable music video directed by Wenders).

"Fretless" is also quite stunning, though I always wondered how it would fit in with a futuristic road movie; guess I'll be finding out...

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#12 Post by tenia » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:06 pm

The French BD is 1080i 25fps and runs 4h 35 min 46 sec. Converted back at 24fps, it should be around 4h 47 min (287 min).
Bitrate was 17 Mbps (the whole movie on 1 BD-50), with a single English DTS HD MA 5.1 track. No video extra, but a 52 pages booklet.
I reviewed it here back in 2015.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#13 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:16 pm

While I'd agree that the soundtrack encapsualtes the early '90's, musically it was always way too 'easy listening' for my taste. Very much looking forward to seeing this again, though I'm not actually sure whether I ever saw the director's cut. I do remember that this film, along with the '90's, encapsulates Wenders' transition toward a style that quickly lost my interest. Maybe it's just that the era of him fascinated with America was much more interesting than the era after he moved to America.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#14 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:40 pm

Those are great thoughts colin, thanks for posting them here! I saw the restoration of the director's cut at the Wenders Roadshow almost four years ago now and it's quite the experience. On the surface, it's an expansive strange beast in its collage of genres, acting as a noir-mystery-adventure-thriller-romance-scifi-action hybrid; but the film also gives ample space (arguably too much at times) for Wenders' interests in existential concerns, re-defining the concept of a road movie pragmatically and theoretically. The first half of the film is some of the most engaging cinema I've ever seen, probably due to the genre conventions on steroids discussed above, but then it slowly begins to lose its bearings like a ball of yarn coming undone. While I was watching this nearly 5-hour epic in a theatre, I found the second half quite frustrating as characters became less interesting and the story simplified, with some later scenes reaching what I perceived to be absurd levels of camp and aimless meandering. However, as colin points out, Wenders' films are about the "journey," and I'm not sure a movie exists where the expectations set in the first part could yield results that were anything but at least mildly disappointing, especially when we get to the source of the 'mystery,' as is often the case with these set-ups though the effects are amplified here considering the extensive time and energy placed into the plotting and characters both in the context of the film and behind the scenes. Over time I've come around to interpreting this process as part of Wenders' intent, and on a metaphysical level, the point of the film. The evaporation of holds on the narrative structure and the emotional and cognitive intentions and actions from the characters gives way to a 'nothingness' that's not so much nihilistic as some kind of attempt to create a sense of nirvana (of traditional Buddhism, not the false interpretation of 'happiness') in the path to acceptance of this nothingness as an end. Thus the film does become about the journey for the characters who struggle to grasp onto meaning behind their own tangible goals, emotions, and senses of purpose; and on a self-reflexive level, traverses the physically pragmatic and theoretically existential spectrums of what a film can offer to the bitter end of its world.

I'm excited to give this another go now knowing how the film progresses and able to keep my expectations in check, and even if the second half doesn't necessarily succeed on every level, maybe that's the point. This is a film that's uneven, messy, and esoteric by design, and one where a filmmaker tests the limits of the medium by realising ambitions outside of his own, and perhaps anybody's, scope. Perhaps if it wasn't frustrating on some level, or if it all worked 'perfectly,' that would be a failure itself. Sometimes the most interesting art is flawed, and while this film may not be great, at its worst it's still an experience unlike any other.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#15 Post by swo17 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:58 pm

movielocke wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:25 pm
I didn't think they'd release a film longer than war and peace in 2019! (tv shows like berlin alexanderplatz excepted)
This isn't longer (and BA isn't a "TV show")

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#16 Post by domino harvey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:00 pm

But to be fair, they are releasing this in 2019

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#17 Post by criterionoop » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:58 pm

My boyfriend had told me how much he adored the soundtrack, so when we saw the film, I was really quite impressed by the soundtrack. The only thing that I was upset about regarding the published CD/Digital soundtrack was that they didn't have one song played during the final sequence - Robbie Robertson's "Breaking the Rules." That song/ending have haunted me for years.

If you watch the shortened version, they truncate the song (which frustrated me) in order to play the final credits music.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#18 Post by greggster59 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:11 pm

Spoiler Alert:
The scenes showing the characters fixated on the video screens, watching their own dreams reminds me of people's obsession with their smart phones. I think Wenders saw something like this coming.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#19 Post by paulm » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:37 pm

As someone who has never seen this but always been intrigued when reading about Winders after seeing Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire....is there any reason to care that the American and European theatrical versions aren't included in this? Or is the 287-minute director's cut covering everything that would matter?

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#20 Post by furbicide » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:34 pm

That quote from zedz above really eloquently sums up much of how I felt about the film – it really feels like (and kind of proved to be) the precise moment that Wenders jumped the shark. It’s astonishing how good nearly everything he made up until this point was, and how it suddenly all went downhill with this film. There are definitely snatches of Good Wenders here, but they are smothered by self-seriousness, bad acting and overcomplicated narrative.

To figure out what went wrong, one might compare this with one of his masterpieces, Kings of the Road: another “travel” film that, unlike this one, scarcely even has a plot but is instead all about how characters interact with each other and respond to a progression of quotidian events, for which the question of where they are going is really not given any importance, and where the “big themes” (emotionally damaged masculinity, German partition, “the end of cinema”) are handled just subtly enough.

If I recall correctly, Until the End of the World was marketed (perhaps at the behest of Wenders himself) as “the ultimate road movie”, and that really summarises a lot of what’s wrong with the film: he took a form he’d really nailed down and tried to do something Big and Grandiose with it – an approach that was the antithesis of everything that made those earlier road movies so good. To be fair, artists will always change, and perhaps he couldn’t have made another Kings of the Road at this point if he’d tried, but what he did try to do with the formula was, for me at least, a contradiction in terms – and that’s all too evident in the finished film.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#21 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:37 pm

furbicide wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:34 pm
If I recall correctly, Until the End of the World was marketed (perhaps at the behest of Wenders himself) as “the ultimate road movie”, and that really summarises a lot of what’s wrong with the film: he took a form he’d really nailed down and tried to do something Big and Grandiose with it – an approach that was the antithesis of everything that made those earlier road movies so good. To be fair, artists will always change, and perhaps he couldn’t have made another Kings of the Road at this point if he’d tried, but what he did try to do with the formula was, for me at least, a contradiction in terms – and that’s all too evident in the finished film.
I agree with almost all of this, and as someone who on any given day considers Kings of the Road my favorite film of all time (vs. very mixed feelings for this one), I also think Wenders was more successful at tackling the existential and emotional beats on a ‘smaller’ scale, making seemingly ordinary and simple moments larger than life, and certainly more significant than anything that Until the End of the World tries to do in these more emotional terms.

But my impression of what Wenders tries with this movie is to not create something better than his other work, but Bigger as you say because.. what else was he going to do? This feels like Wenders as an artist having fulfilled his smaller-scale dreams and shooting for the stars by professing his ‘grandiose’ dreams on film. It doesn’t quite work, and this is absolutely Wenders jumping the shark, but I guess I don’t see that as such a bad thing. Yeah I wish he kept going strong with films I gravitate towards, but like many artists he strove to push himself creatively for better or for worse. I don’t think that Wenders intended to make a bad film, but I do believe this was him choosing to take the risk at jumping the shark. Maybe he thought it would work better than it did. Still, he must have been aware of the intense risks he was taking, and the absolutely ridiculous degrees to which he stretches his themes here indicate that he was throwing pretty much everything at the wall to see what sticks. In a way this seems like a film born of his own existential/creative/professional crisis, with an intention to do something much different, even opposite, to the introspective existential journeys that came before. This film is an externalization of all of these subtle and internally-sourced ideas projected onto the canvas of the world, literally and figuratively. It was never going to be as interesting to me as those other types of films, but it’s a completely different idea (regardless of calling itself a “road movie,” which it transcends in several ways), and considering how the final product is in many ways the opposite of what he’d already demonstrated success and even mastery in, it’s impressive that he even tried.

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colinr0380
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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#22 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:42 am

I do find it interesting that, perhaps because of its grandiosity, that Until The End of the World can have different parts of it compared to other films: is it the It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World of family dramas? (Jeanne Moreau is obviously in the Buster Keaton cameo role as the somewhat bewildered figure waiting at the end of the road and barely acknowledged when everybody reaches her simply because they have built up too much momentum in the preceding chase); as existential and eventually as collectively dissolute as Neon Genesis Evangelion, just without the giant robot action (replaced by picturesque locations being travelled through); the sci-fi inflected Hector and the Search For Happiness? (except with severe doubts about the worth of solipsistic cod philosophising as a way to live one's life, which immediately makes the Wenders film miles better). Can it be all three and a musical too?
therewillbeblus wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:37 pm
But my impression of what Wenders tries with this movie is to not create something better than his other work, but Bigger as you say because.. what else was he going to do? This feels like Wenders as an artist having fulfilled his smaller-scale dreams and shooting for the stars by professing his ‘grandiose’ dreams on film.
And it is interesting to note that the film following this was Faraway, So Close!, which is the return to the world of the characters of Wings of Desire to do a grand comment on the State of Europe, and Berlin in particular, in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. The narrator 'character' there writing his memorial memoirs ('memoirialising?') being very similar to the Sam Neill character in this film, only on an even grander scale since it involves Mikhail Gorbachev kind of playing himself!

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domino harvey
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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#23 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:01 am

I thought the world collectively agreed to pretend Faraway, So Close! never happened

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#24 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:15 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:42 am
as existential and eventually as collectively dissolute as Neon Genesis Evangelion, just without the giant robot action (replaced by picturesque locations being travelled through)
This is exactly what I was trying to say in my initial post regarding the 'nothingness,' and having just watched Evangelion recently, this is a spot on comparison!
colinr0380 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:42 am
Can it be all three and a musical too?
You're hitting on a deeper point that I failed to make in my last post - that part of the 'opposite' nature of this work comparatively to Wenders' oeuvre is disguising this conglomeration of ideas as a 'road movie,' a similar category, while taking a completely inverted path. I didn't even consider the fact that it's also a musical too, and the heavy leaning on music to drive the film feels like the key to unlocking the film's ambitions. A traditional 'road movie,' especially the kind that Wenders has historically made before this film, could probably safely get away with the other genre conventions as slight twists on the formula and hit the same scale of existential beats, but the musical variable lifts this into a larger than life void, displacing us from the reality of the film for moments on end, as musicals do, and matches the ambitions that propel the film onto this grandiose plain. Whether or not the characters break into song is beside the point because the soundtrack is clearly a primary influence, or an independent variable, that much of the action, character development, and plot has been informed by, serving as dependent variables contingent on ideas, emotions, and general moods from these songs. Instead of presenting the audience with acute realism, relying on an absence of variables by showing people simply 'being' to elicit existential concerns from internal voids in his previous work, Wenders completely undoes his process to try to achieve attention to similar interests with completely different modalities of intervention. This is a loud film, and its themes are driven by clear and colorful variables from genre trappings to music to lavish production design. It's forced, but that's intentional. Rather than providing that narrative space to breathe in the philosophies Wenders indirectly presents us with, here he meticulously constructs a narrative for us, with all elements so imposed that we only become free to access the existential aura as Wenders relinquishes control of his own movie to move towards that 'nothingness.' I think this humility has been mistaken for 'losing' control rather than freely giving it up, but regardless of the intent that's the effect the film has on me, even if it fails to provide me with the enjoyment I get from his previous work.

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Re: 1007 Until the End of the World

#25 Post by ALLCAPSAREBASTARDS » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:35 am

beautiful cover and i love the soundtrack, but after watching the 3-hour cut many years ago there was nothing in it that prompts me to watch the longer one.

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