- Filmmaking Tips
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On August 14, 1945, Wim Wenders was born in Düsseldorf, Germany— the very same day World War II fighting ended in the Pacific. While he has said that growing up in post-war Germany was unsurprisingly not the most joyful of places, Wenders spent his childhood consuming a cultural diet of primarily American imports, ranging from Elvis to Westerns. As such, it’s perhaps not surprising that many of Wenders’ most iconic works are imbued with a vibe that might be described as the American Beat Generation meets German Romanticism, yearning and wanderlust mellowed with a strong dose of ennui.
One of a trio of filmmakers who rose to international prominence in the 1970s as part of the New German Cinema/German New Wave movement (the other two being Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Werner Herzog), Wenders’ career has been marked by a paradoxical combination of consistency and constant evolution, from fiction to documentary and back again, traversing genres and languages. He broke onto the scene with his first three road films, Alice in the Cities (1974), The Wrong Move (1975), and Kings of the Road (1976), now commonly regarded collectively as the Road Trilogy due to their narrative and stylistic similarities, even though they were never intended as a series. Wenders’ best-known films include the 1984 Harry Dean Stanton starrer Paris, Texas and the romantic fantasy steeped in existentialism that is Wings of Desire, released in 1987.
He’s won the Palme d’Or and Best Director at Cannes Film Festival (for Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire, respectively) and the BAFTA for Best Direction (Paris, Texas), and he’s been Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary Feature three times (The Salt of the Earth, Pina, and Buena Vista Social Club), among other honors. When it comes to filmmaking, Wenders is a living legend, and he’s shared plenty of advice along the way, including the following six tips.