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LIGHTNING OVER WATER
1980


Director:
Wim Wenders
Nicholas Ray

Screenplay:
Wim Wenders

Director of Photography:
Ed Lachmann

Editor:
Peter Przygodda

Music:
Ronee Blakley

Cast:
Nicholas Ray
Wim Wenders
Ronee Blakley
Susan Ray
Tom Farrell
Gerry Bammann

Festivals/Awards:
1981 German Film
Prize in Silver
for Production

Producers:
Wim Wenders
Chris Sievernich

Production:
Road Movies Filmproduktion/Berlin
Wim Wenders
Produktion

Length:
90 min.

Format:
35mm
Colour

Original Title:
Nick's Film - Lightning Over Water

Original Language:
English

 

Lightning Over Water is a penetrating and touching film of the last days of cult American director Nicholas Ray, most well-known for Rebel Without a Cause.


."I knew that he wanted to work, to die working", Wim Wenders says in the movie.  And through his work with Wenders and the crew, Ray transformed his dying into an act of collaboration and a work of art.

Dying slowly of terminal cancer, Ray chose not to institutionalize himself in a hospice and fade away in an old people's home but stayed in his modest New York City loft, surrounded by his closest friends -- a sharp and poignant contrast to the comparative luxury of his Hollywood years.

The film is lovingly assembled by Wenders, whose reverence of Ray is evident in every frame of his own work.  Ray reflects on a lifetime of accomplishments, failures and compromises, and reminisces about Joan Crawford, James Dean and the many other Hollywood stars that appeared in his films.


'The film follows the progress of death, for once really at work, in 35 mm and on video,
in an inside/outside organic continuity. Wenders, and us with him, get used to the idea of death - that neither he who makes a movie nor he who looks at it are immortal.

The central issue of the contract between Wim and Nick is the act of love from the young director to his cursed father/master - an identification that is also an exorcism.
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