A woman undresses. Her breasts are very briefly seen.

On June 12, 1987, during his visit to West Berlin, Reagan delivered a speech in front of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate: “Mr. Gorbachev, please push down this wall.” It was two years before the demolition of the Berlin Wall. It was also in this year that Wenders ended his eight years of wandering in the United States and returned to his hometown Berlin to start shooting under the Berlin sky.

The original German name of “under the firmament of Berlin”, Der Himmel ü BER Berlin, translated into English, has the dual meaning of the sky over Berlin and the heaven over Berlin. “I use movies to fight against the tragedy of loss and the disappearance of the world.” Wenders, 42, wrote.

At the beginning of the film, the lens looks down on the devastated post-war Berlin and all the people living in it from the angel’s perspective. The estrangement and dispute between parents and children and husband and wife, the children in the corner watching other people’s play alone, the pain and suffering of the victims of car accidents, the prostitutes on the street who can’t make money and return home with tears

Angel Cassirer followed an old man who lost all his relatives in the war to revisit his hometown and listen to him recall Berlin in the golden age. The former Potsdam railway station was located at the junction of various jurisdictions and crossed by the Berlin Wall. This bustling urban center was reduced to an uninhabited isolation area after the war. When the old man walked into the desolate wilderness, he had no way to go and nowhere to go. Finally, the scene of falling asleep was bleak and desolate.

As the first generation born after World War II, compared with his compatriots Fassbender and Herzog, the German color of Wenders’s films is not so strong. The main theme of his films is the lingering sense of loneliness and the warmth permeated in this cold tone. Wenders’ political views can be seen from the scenes of mass actors playing Nazi soldiers and Jews standing together casually smoking and chatting on the set of the concentration camp, as well as the scenes of angels repeatedly shuttling through the Berlin Wall.

As Tarkovsky said: artists can be divided into two categories, one is to create their own inner world, the other is to create reality. Wenders’ Angel image is “beyond the world presented in front of today’s mankind”. As for whether, as Arendt said, people who deliberately keep a distance from the times will put the deepest mark on their times, I’m afraid it’s a matter of different opinions.

Wenders had planned to arrange angels from the United States, Britain, France and Russia to correspond to the situation in Berlin at that time, but “it seems to be formulaic in this way”, so everything goes with nature. In the film, the angel Daniel is German, the actress Marian is French, and the fallen “angel” Peter Falk is American. They each speak German, French and English.

The world in the angel perspective is black and white, so-called super good and evil, and then appears cold, estranged and alienated. It is “poor” because of its “purity”, which is also the metaphor of East and West Berlin in the cold war. Angels are the symbol of rational spirit, and Germany is the nation that is best at logical thinking. In the setting of Wenders, the angels “exiled to Berlin by God” swam the world with their hair fixed with hair wax and wearing long black windsuits. They can not directly experience human feelings and feelings. They can only act as bystanders from a distance and remain silent without affecting human actions.

The theologian Guardini commented on the angels in the lament of Duino: “they are no longer the messengers of the living God… They are the essence, which can be simply called the gods.” Wenders also admitted that Rilke’s work was “the first and most important” when he conceived the film.

In the film city of angels, although God is not present, he is frequently mentioned by angels. Wenders’ angels are outside God. They travel around the world and listen to people’s inner confessions. Only children can occasionally “see” them. They can’t do miracles, and their warm touch can’t save their suicide jumping from a high place. “I don’t really believe in them.” Wenders answered the question about the angels in the film, “their existence in the film is a metaphor.”

“Under the firmament of Berlin” goes against the angel image of children or women in the past, and chooses middle-aged men to play angels. The “wings” seen by the audience are installed on the mortal “angel” and Marian who complains “how can I fly with these burdens”. In Marian’s performance on the night of the full moon, Wenders reversed the previous consistent looking down lens and chose to look up from Daniel’s perspective. The subversion of subject and object seems to indicate that the “angel” as a male is finally “redeemed” by women. Daniel finally realized: “we are not onlookers, we are always in it.” Nick Cave on the stage sings “from her to eternity”.

Wenders saw the only word “None” on Ozu’s tombstone, which undoubtedly shocked him. In the subtitle at the end of “under the firmament of Berlin”, among the three names that director Wenders paid tribute to, Ozu was ranked first (the other two were truffer and Tarkovsky).

As Borges said, “heaven should be like a library.” The scene of the library, as the collection and distribution center of the angels in the film, is also repeated by connecting the clues of the plot. In a scene in the library, the woman read: “in 1942, Benjamin bought Paul Kerry’s watercolor: the famous Nova Engle.” Benjamin himself wrote this: “This is how people describe the angel of history: where we feel the chain of history, she sees a complete disaster. The latter piles up the debris one by one and slams them at their feet. The angel is willing to stop, wake up the dead and turn the broken things into a whole. But there is a gust of wind from the garden of Eden, which is so strong The angel’s wings were so strong that the angel couldn’t close them. The wind pushed him irresistibly into the future he was facing, while the ruins in front of him were farther and farther away from him. This wind is what we call progress. ” Heaven and earth, immortality and death, politics and war, Wenders’ introspection and the accompanying nihility, just as Cassirer said to Daniel when he was about to become a man: “none of this will really happen.”

Rilke said: “life and death, recognize one and not the other, so that one will eventually eliminate the limitations of all infinite things.” Angel Daniel can’t bear the “light” of eternal Heaven. When he came to the world, he finally sighed: “it only happens once, so it will become eternal.” Can countless creatures in the world who bear the burden of death look at the world with the eyes of heaven and realize that “poor body is the man in the eyes”?

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