Der Himmel über Berlin

3 Feb, 2021 at 12:41 | Posted in Varia | 3 Comments


Watching Peter Handke’s and Wim Wenders’ masterpiece — a movie that touches my heart more than any other — takes me back to the city I learned to love already back in the 1970’s.

Als das Kind Kind war,
ging es mit hängenden Armen,
wollte der Bach sei ein Fluß,
der Fluß sei ein Strom,
und diese Pfütze das Meer.
Als das Kind Kind war,
wußte es nicht, daß es Kind war,
alles war ihm beseelt,
und alle Seelen waren eins.
Als das Kind Kind war,
hatte es von nichts eine Meinung,
hatte keine Gewohnheit,
saß oft im Schneidersitz,
lief aus dem Stand,
hatte einen Wirbel im Haar
und machte kein Gesicht beim fotografieren.


  1. This film is antithetical to all things Catholic. I do not know how the hierarchy of the Catholic Church reacted to the release of the motion picture “Wings of Desire.” I suppose that they welcomed it, as did the general public. But, I suppose that is only
    because Catholic clergy, as well as the clergy of other religions, welcome anything within modern culture that makes them seem relevant. They would not expect the general public to recognize the nuances within the film in opposition to their theology. The Catholic Church enthusiastically welcomed the book, and the film, “The Exorcist.” But that is because “The Exorcist” is a profoundly Catholic work that
    adheres closely to Catholic doctrine.

    One can see within the kernel of “The Exorcist” what makes it so
    profoundly Catholic. That kernel can also be found in the sequel to the
    film “Wings of Desire.” In its sequel, “Faraway, So Close” the book
    author, and film producer, partially correct their mistake made in the
    previous film. We see the kernel of truth in “The Exorcist” when Father
    Damian is where he needs to be at the moment of crisis. It is the angel
    Cassiel who is where he needs to be at the moment of crisis in the
    sequel “Faraway, So Close.” Cassiel does not have the longings of his
    companion Damiel to become mortal. This is not a choice to be made. This
    is a compulsion, an obligation of the angel’s duty to God, to be where
    he is needed, and when, so as to avert tragedy. Cassiel fulfills that
    duty, not through any choice of his own, but through his compulsion to
    serve God’s needs.

    Upon fulfilling that duty Cassiel’s armor falls to the Earth and he
    becomes mortal. He suffers, he shivers, he goes astray. He has made the
    supreme sacrifice that an angel can make; just as Father Damian makes
    the supreme sacrifice at his moment of crisis. The film “Wings of Desire” confuses this duty to God with carnal desire. Damiel is a fallen angel, but Cassiel is not.

  2. Even the angels in Berlin are unhappy with their existence. They want to bleed, starve and feel cold. They know not how to turn their face to God.

  3. For me this is has always been a deeply touching movie. The soliloquy of the angel on children always reminded me to the reflections of Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition.

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