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SHORT FILMS
1967-69

Unless otherwise noted all shorts were written, produced, directed, photographed and edited by Wim Wenders

 

 

"Like no other filmmaker of our time, Wim Wenders has explored cinema from its very beginning." - Die Zeit.

SCHAUPLÄTZE
1967

Length:
10 min.
Format:
16 mm B&W
Music by:
Rolling Stones



 

 

"My first short was Schauplätze (which means locations or places). The film got lost... There was no print of it, just the original material, which was shot on reversal film stock."

 

SAME PLAYER SHOOTS AGAIN
1967


Cast:
Hans Zischler


Music:
"Mood Music"


Length:
12 min.

Format:
16 mm B&W/Viagr.

 

 

"Actually, Schauplätze didn’t get lost completely. Two shot were left, and they’re now the first two shots in Same Player Shoots Again. In a way, they’re a prelude to it – or rather its antecedents. They come before the credit title. And the rest of the film, after the title, is just one three-minute shot that’s repeated five times. It was shot in black-and-white and its repeated five times, but always in a slightly different color. I mean its not really colored, just a little bit blue and a little bit red and a little bit green along the street."

"At first, you only see his feet. He’s wearing a long coat, and later you can see up to his waist. He has a machine-gun in one hand and he begins walking fast, then he slowly begins to run and he stumbles more and more, as if he were hurt or wounded. He doesn’t actually fall. You just see him running. You see the coat and the machine-gun and his feet. And in the end, the film starts again from the beginning. Its somewhat different from those loop films that were in vogue at the time – those were without an end and you could watch them indefinitely. Whereas in Sam Player Shoots Again, there was a development and there was a new beginning each time."

"For me, it had a lot to do with pinball machines – I mean a game where you have five balls (you used to have five balls, now you only get three). At the time, you had five balls and five games, and that’s a little bit the structure of Same Player Shoots Again. Visually, its as if you had five balls. In fact, that was the idea, to edit it this way. It had some music, too, music I found on an old 78 record that was called Mood Music ad it sounded like music from an unknown Hitchcock film. I used two small pieces of it – one of 10, and one of 15 seconds, one in the beginning of the shot and one at the end – that is to say – the two pieces of music were repeated as well."

SILVER CITY
REVISITED

1968

Length:

25 min.

Format:
16 mm Eastman Color

Original Language:
German

Music:
"Mood Music"

 

 

"My next short was Silver City – it, too, had an English title and consisted of eight shots. Each shot was as long as a 30-metre roll, so it in fact lasted a little more than three minutes. And all of the shots were long shots, extreme long shots. And they were all done from the third, fourth, or fifth floor of the apartments where I lived at the time. (I used to change apartments rather frequently.) And they all showed streets or crossings, first very early in morning, at three or half past three when they were completely empty, and the lights were turning from green to red to green again, when there were no cars or anything crossing the streets, and with that morning light where everything is blue. And I used to shoot them even without cutting the ends off the 30-metre rolls – at the end, the image would be turning yellow or red or quite simply white. I didn’t cut anything away."

"The second half consisted of shots in the evening, sometimes of the same places, the same streets, but with heavy evening traffic going out of the city. The film again used Mood Music, other pieces this time – each 20 seconds long and each repeated three times. The film was extremely contemplative. It was really like standing at a window and looking down on the streets, either completely empty or, on the contrary, completely stocked. Only in the very first shot was there anything like a hint of a story. The very first shot was of a railway line – just an empty landscape, very early in the morning, too, and after two minutes of a completely empty shot, someone crosses the rails from one side of the frame, and leave the frame on the other. Immediately after he has crossed the rails, the train appears: that is to say – the camera is very close to the rails and – bang – the train is in the shot, and he passes, and slowly disappears in the distance. You get the impression that maybe it’s the start of some kind of story, but nothing happens until the end. Just the empty streets, and the views out of the windows."

" I’m not sure why I called it Silver City. I still think it expresses the mood of the film very well – just the sound of the two words. Maybe it’s the alliteration that makes it. I don’t know."

 

 

POLIZEIFILM
1968

Written by:
Albrecht Göschel

Cast:
Jimmy Vogler (demonstrator)
Kasimir Esser
(policeman)

Produced by:
Wim Wenders and
Bayrischer Rundfunk, Munich

Length:
12 min.

Format:
16 mm B&W

Original Language:
German



 

 

"Then I made another 16 mm Black-and-white film which was called Polizeifilm (Police film), about the Munich police and their new tactics for dealing with the student situation in 1968. It showed their efforts to work in a more sophisticated and psychological way . It is a very funny movie, I think ….a little bit my Laurel and Hardy film."

"On the other hand, it’s really a political film. There was a continuous commentary on it – a voice whispering advice for young policemen. I still like the film a lot. I think it’s one of the few films of the period that is really political. Not only in its intentions; it is itself a political attitude. Most of the films of the time were just filmed demonstrations and were, in a way, for those who already knew what it was all about."

"Police Film was about the police point of view of the demonstrations and this was important and a very new approach for a lot of people."

 

ALABAMA:
2000 LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME

1969

Photographed by:
Wim Wenders and
Robbie Müller

Cast:
Paul Lys (hero)
Peter Kaiser
Werner Schröter
Schrat
Muriel Werner
King Ampaw
Christian Friedel
(friends)


Produced by:
Wim Wenders and
Hochschule für Fernsehen
und Film,
Munich

Length:
22 min.

Format:
35 mm B&W

Original Language:
German

 

 

"The next short was Alabama, which was the first film I made in 35 mm and large screen. And the first time I worked with a cameraman, the first time I worked with Robbie Muller, who has shot all my films since then. And it’s again about 25 minutes long. It has more of a story, I think, though not one you could actually tell. You couldn’t say “ It’s the story of a man who…”. It’s a story and it’s not a story. There’s a lot of music in it."

" The film starts with a shot of a cassette recorder, and it has a juke box in it. There’s always music in it. When I was asked by some critics at a festival press conference what the film was all about, I said 'it’s about the song All Along The Watchtower, and the film is about what happens and what changes depending on whether the song is sung by Bob Dylan or by Jimi Hendrix.'" Well, both versions of the song appear in the film, and everybody thought I was pretty arrogant to explain the story this way. But the film really is about the difference between the Dylan version of All Along the Watchtower, and the Jimi Hendrix Version. One is at the beginning and one is at the end."

" The film is named after a piece of music by John Coltrane called Alabama, which is in the film, too. It’s more of an after-action film, or after-story film. The subject is death. You could say that much about the story: it deals at least with death. In the end, the camera is dying – not the man. Well, the man is dying, but you don’t see him dying – you see the camera dying, which means you see a very, very slow fadeout."

 

 

3 AMERICAN LP'S
1969

Written by:
Peter Handke

Music by:
Van Morrison
Credence Clearwater Revival
Harvey Mandel


Produced by:
Wim Wenders and
Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt am Main

Length:
12 min. (15 min.)

Format:
16 mm Eastman Color
 

 

Another short was 3 American LPs, which was the first film I did with Peter Handke. It was a film about American music, about three pieces of three Lps. There was a song by Van Morrison, another by Harvey Mandel, and one of Credence Clearwater Revival. It was mainly the music and some shots out of a car, landscapes out of the car window. And it had a little bit of commentary – dialogue between Peter and me about American music and about how American rock music was about emotion and images instead of sounds. That is to say, about a kind of phenomenon, that it was in a way a kind of film music, but without a moving picture. It was a 12-minute film and it was never shown. (1976)

 

 

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