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July 9, 2014

Wim Wenders reveals his rules of cinema perfection

From Open Culture:

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Does Wim Wenders, one of my favorite directors, make perfect films? Hardly — and therein, at least for me, lies the appeal. Perfection strikes me as a singularly uninteresting goal for art, and Wenders has made some of the most interesting pieces of motion picture art going for the past thirty years: Wings of DesireParis, Texas; Notebook on Cities and Clothes; Tokyo-Ga. Perhaps, it occurs to me, he has achieved his own kind of very specific, inimitable perfection. But if you seek to imitate it nevertheless, have a look at “Wim Wenders’ Rules of Cinema Perfection” above. In this video (actually a kind of spot for Stella Artois, a brand with which the auteur has worked before), we see humorously revealed several of Wenders’ best filmmaking practices: “You need a good title from the beginning,” “Continuity is clearly overrated,” “Try to welcome and incorporate” the unexpected, and “If you like football, don’t shoot during the world championship.”

If you’ve done your reading on Wenders, you can probably tell that the clip draws from a published list of the director’s “50 Golden Rules of Filmmaking.” Other helpful recommendations include “Before you say ‘cut,’ wait five more seconds,” “A ‘beautiful image’ can very well be the worst thing that can happen to a scene,” and “There are no rules.” Will following these if-n0t-rules-then-guidelines turn you into the next Wim Wenders? Unlikely. Will drinking Stella Artois do it? Certainly not. But it could hurt none of us, whatever our creative endeavor of choice, to emulate his willingness on display here to learn from his mistakes (based on his list, I’d say he’s taken his share of hard knocks hiring couples, adapting novels, and working with animals); to share his wisdom; and (maybe most importantly of all) to learn not to take ourselves too seriously. Sure, his detractors tend to accuse him of pretentiousness, but we true fans (who pay close attention even to his commercial acting gigs) know the truth.

July 9, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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