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Wim Wenders Iconography

In the review article certain persistent motives and elements of Wim Wenders’ films are presented: Loneliness, man-man or man-child relationships, the absence and idealization of family and women, cultural references to rock’n roll and literature, references to American culture, especially genre films, a European stylistic touch.

Most articles on Wenders in the Croatian press have been written in the eighties. His cult status has obviously changed and there have been only a few artricles concerning him during the nineties. But Wenders continues to make films and now ith is possible to get a clearer picture of his highly personal cinematic world and his persistent motifs. Wenders is primarily concerned with the individuality of his protagonists and their state of mind which is extremely sensitive to society in general. Wenders’ protagonists are like those from American film noires. They are loners on the margin of society without attachments to any specific community. This position is expressed through their on-the-road life situations. They travel a great deal, restraining themselves from any real action. They hesitate in their decisions and are afraid of facing their fears. In spite of not being attached to anyone, his protagonists do reluctantly develop an attachment with other males or a particular child. This serves as a kind of catalyst for altering the protagonist’s self knowledge.

There is also a change in the position of women in Wenders’ films. In his first films women are narratively unimportant, but later on they become reasons for his protagonist’s wanderings. Similarly, family is something inaccessible to Wenders’ protagonists (they usually flee from family) but at the same time, family is something they yearn for. Being a sort of »cultural director«, Wenders shows keen interest in the cultural aspects of contemporary art, rock’n roll, literature, painting, American movies and movies in general, particularly in traditional genres like thrillers, detective films, and road movies. But though he is highly immersed in references to American popular culture, akin to his US contemporaries like Walter Hill, Wenders is basicaly a director with a European sensibility. He is assuredly a part of Europe’s modernist tradition.

Tomislav Čegir

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