wim wenders on storytelling

On my bike ride into work today I listened to a podcast from the Economist interviewing Wim Wenders about storytelling. When I was younger I saw Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders and was hooked on his films. This interview brought forward what I like most about Wenders, his laconic style of speaking and reflection on his work that gives you incredible insight into his thinking in a few short sentences.

I saw the film PINA  when it first came out in theaters and from my past experience with the black and white films of Wenders was surprised to learn this was a 3D film – mostly in colour. It was a great film, and the thing I enjoyed most was the mix of storytelling and technology. Wenders had appreciated Pina and her work for 20 years, and had always wanted to make a movie about her work – to tell her story. However he didn’t think film could capture the breadth and motion of her work. When 3D filming became practical – that’s when he decided he could tell her story, and made a movie in this medium. I knew Wenders as a film maker who used black and white film as his medium when I was younger, and was curious that he was embracing this new technology. I was greatly inspired by the film and even more inspired by Wenders’ attitude towards technology. 

The Economist interview brings out Wender’s thinking about technology as a tool that we should use to do more and tell better stories. It lines up with my own philosophy of what technology is for. It’s a vehicle for better stories and information, and should not be an end in itself.

In the Economist interview – Wenders was identifying that people now make movies on iPhones. And he really likes that – the technology allows us to tell stories that we could not before, either due to the size, cost or complexity of a film camera, relative to the simplicity and mobility of a phone.

I’ve always liked his work, and enjoyed his thinking, and this interview is a great example of both things coming together. This interview is worth a listen if you appreciate good storytelling, and Wenders reflection on the current plight of people fleeing Syria and settling in Germany in the last 90 seconds is fascinating.

Wim Wenders – Storytelling – The Economist:

One reply on “wim wenders on storytelling”

WINGS OF DESIRE is amazing ( and I think it was clelad ANGELS OVER BERLIN in every language but English). The shot from the angel’s POV as he floats over the wall was a big thrill for my little, Cold War brain.I was 21 in 1988 and all three of those movies were a tonic for a kid who wanted a respit from summer blockbusters. I was a theater usher so I saw a lot of forgotten movies like Bagdad Cafe, Colors, Decline of Western Civilization Part 2, Little Vera (from the USSR), Repentance (also from the USSR but way more subversive), and Bull Durham.I sucked up a lot of air conditioning that year. WING OF DESIRE was probably the only one I saw three times in the theater.

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