Hello there. Long time. This post is brought to you by Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire - I had very little to do with it. Frankly, until watching Wings of Desire last night, I'd thought about shutting this whole blog down (so silent, for so long... it was becoming atrophy). But the film's message and setting jolted me.
See, a couple weeks ago I rode to LA with a filmmaker, a trunk full of art and the art's maker, a certain Jared Lindsay Clark, who'd lived in Berlin for a stint. A subject that came about because, oh hey, I just went to Berlin.
I told him how impenetrable I'd found it. He told me how much he loved it. I talked of Soviet culture. He talked of art scene rapture. I told him he needed to see The Lives of Others. He told me I needed to see Wings of Desire. "Okay," I said, "I will."
And being the sort of person who does what she's told when somebody with an artistic bent glows about a film, I did. (Had he mentioned that it was particularly timely given the recent passing of Peter Falk, I might have been even quicker about it).
Peter Falk. Berlin. Death. Life. Change. The film's subject matter. Its inspiration taken from the work of Rilke. Angels longing to be mortals. The incalculable value of eternity compared to the precious handhold we have on the current moment. The fact that I'd just been there; walking circles around the very same landmarks featured in the 1987 film, but in a vastly different political context. And yet, it was the same. Within the film's context, they felt the same.
Serendipity. Serendipity and footfalls.
I dug out my camera today and uploaded photos I hadn't bothered with yet. Just to prove to myself that what I'd seen had been what I remembered it to be. Felt no different. That I wasn't imagining it.
If you've seen the film, you'll recognize the pic of Lady Victory at the top of this post. A guardian angel of military triumph built when Germany was still Prussia.
And the Mercedes sign [spoiler alert] such a prominent backdrop for the lovelorn man's suicide. An association I viewed with irony, since the familiar revolving car ornament was the first thing I'd recognized (with an internal yawp of glee) after getting a little lost around Tiergarten mere hours before my departing flight.
And Maxim Gorki Theater, like a linen-draped saint heralded with celestial glory.
Gorky's Theater wasn't in the film (it's in former East Berlin), but this seemed a fitting parting image for a post about angels and serendipity.
See... I hardly think Gorky's Theater is a landmark many people seek out. I didn't seek it out myself. It was just something I stumbled into during my directionless wanderings. Though once I saw it, I went right up to challenge its existence, head-on, like a windmill, saying, "Oh yes, Gorky, there you are! But of course! I know what you're here for! I know what you're after!" The theater stood steadfast, blinking back with no statement beyond its gold letters and embellished classical majesty, a messenger from Olympia, knowing that just by being there its point had been made.
For no matter where I go, its seems there are Russian playwrights whom I'm constantly bumping into, who stare at me... with knowing glances about the things I am to write -- and how they figure into it.
More Berlin pics forthcoming.... promise x