German director wim wenders has been a frequent guest at the venice film festival – and is also involved this year: the 75-year-old took part in the digital language series "life through a different lens: contactless connections.
The series took place at the invitation of mastercard, official partner of this year’s venice film festival. In an interview with the dpa news agency, wenders talks about his current film shoot, the passion he discovered in the days of corona, and what it was like to recently turn 75 years old.
Question: they turned 75 years old in august. The birthday party probably turned out a little differently than they had once imagined?
Answer: basically, all my exams turned out differently, firstly, and secondly, than I thought they would. I just do not like to imagine them before. It spoils everything. I like to be involved in planning my wife’s birthdays or other family members, but not my own. Such birthdays are only possible because i am surprised and not responsible for anything. This has been particularly successful this year. I received a gift that i knew absolutely nothing about, although it must have taken a lot of work and time: a rough bound book for which many of my friends and co-workers wrote a story, an episode or a situation that we had experienced together, with a picture to go with it.
Question: what do you miss most since the beginning of the corona pandemic??
Answer: being driven! The stale feeling of not having time for anything anymore! The nagging doubt that you’re not missing out on everything that matters! The sad certainty of once again not having done anyone justice! The behind-all-hink! Or someone hitting you on the shoulder. That one pushes through or is constantly jostled at a concert. That you shake hands with your neighbors at a church service. That in the cinema you ask the people in the row in front of you not to talk all the time. Just squeezing into the bus that takes you from the plane to the gate. That you’re like an idiot taking part in the damn laola wave in the stadium. All those things where one is one among many.
Question: have you discovered or rediscovered a new passion during this time??
Answer: lazing around. A completely new and amazing experience: looking up at the sky and watching the swallows! Well, as an occupational disease I had to film it, even if only with the iphone… Watching a movie every night. Writing letters. Listening to bob dylan’s new single "murder most foul" so many times until i could sing along like i did with "just like a woman" or "subterranean homesick blues"…
Question: they are shooting again. Can you tell us a little bit about it: what and where exactly??
Answer: actually I prefer to keep silent about it. Simply because I often think to myself that it would have been much better if a film had come out and no one had ever heard of it. I myself prefer to go to movies I don’t know anything about… At the same time, i am not making this film secretly, so i may as well mention it: this is a long-term observation of the work of an architect, swiss peter zumthor. Whose work means a lot to me. I follow two of his most important buildings from their inception, the new LACMA museum in los angeles and the extension of the beautiful fondation beyeler (by renzo piano) in basel with an additional rough new exhibition building. We will also visit all the buildings of peter zumthor in the course of time. He didn’t build that much, he was always extremely strict and economical in his selection and only built what he was convinced had to be there.
Question: what is the biggest change for you in this rotation in corona times??
Answer: the miserable masks. They are the death of irony. No one sees if one or one laughs at a question or answer. Actually, you have to add: "that’s not what I meant…" Or: "if only they could see blob that i’m smiling at them right now…"Generally, a bad mood quickly arises because someone who, like me, mumbles anyway, is now even less understood. Because I am at the same time convinced of the wearing of the masks and consider this an act of philanthropy, brotherhood and equality, I am now making a special effort to make the diction clearer. Even if it’s just the tiniest edge of the pandemic, but still: you can’t rely on a laugh anymore and you have to speak more clearly.
Question: when will the film be shown in cinemas??
Answer: the "when" is unfortunately not the only imponderable in your question… I know only one thing, namely "whether" the film should be in the cinema. Of course, absolutely! There is no better awakening of a film than in a cinema, seen by hundreds of eyes at the same time. In this case they all wore 3D glasses as well. But: when will it be possible again, like before, without empty rows in between?? And can the cinemas last that long?? And what has become of our society by then? The nutcases then have a parliamentary majority? And haven’t other circumstances become so urgent by then that we all have to go to the barricades instead of going to the cinema?? "Mondays to fridays for future"?
Question: corona is turning a lot of things upside down right now, even in the movie business. How the cinema industry will change, must change?
Answer: open-air cinemas, drive-in cinemas, underwater cinemas, fire wall cinemas, cloud cinemas, matterhorn cinemas, brandenburg gate cinemas and so on. If "the cinema" cannot survive as an institution, it will most likely be reinvented at some point. Then someone comes and proposes the following: "imagine: people go into a rough room, they sit down, it gets dark, then begins a payment with powerful images and sound worlds that make all who sit in front of it to dream. People weep with joy to be able to experience something like this together. You will finally understand and bear yourself and your world again…" Boah! Great idea!
Question: how do you get people back into the cinema after they have been watching television and using streaming services for so long??
Answer: in your question, "television and streaming services" sound almost like punishments, like time you have to serve until you are released into freedom again. (laughs) there’s something to that. At the same time, I myself have just experienced how it can be that, for example, the NDR in cooperation with the ARD and the wim wenders foundation, in the context of a work show on my 75th birthday, has just published a book on the subject. Birthday 28 of my films available in your media library. People can search in it to their heart’s content. And hopefully got caught up in one or two films…
About wim wenders: one of the most important german directors. The 75-year-old has made such documentaries as "buena vista social club," "pina" and "the salt of the earth" during his long career. Wenders also enjoyed international success with his feature films, including "paris, texas" and "the sky over berlin. Wenders, who was born in dusseldorf, has received many awards for his work. He also works as a photographer and is president of the european film academy.