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Also Known As: Wilhelm Ernst Wenders Died:
Born: August 14, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Germany Profession: director, screenwriter, editor, producer, actor, critic

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the more successful and prolific filmmakers to emerge from the New German Cinema movement, iconoclastic director Wim Wenders continually walked the line between art house aesthetic and commercial appeal with his vast body of work. Stark early efforts, such as the nihilistic "The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick" (1972) and road movies like "Alice in the Cities" (1974), led to more focused works along the lines of "The American Friend" (1977). Having gained international notoriety, Wenders indulged his fascination with Americana in the acclaimed "Paris, Texas" (1984) then returned to Berlin for his beloved fantasy-drama "Wings of Desire" (1987). He also broadened the scope of his artistic pursuits with forays into music video and television commercial directing, photographic exhibitions, authoring several essay collections and more. While later dramatic indulgences along the lines of "Until the End of the World" (1991) and "Faraway, So Close!" (1993), were viewed as less cogent works, the filmmaker nonetheless displayed his remarkable acumen with music documentaries like "Buena Vista Social Club" (1999). With "Don't Come Knocking" (2005) he returned to the well for another American road...

One of the more successful and prolific filmmakers to emerge from the New German Cinema movement, iconoclastic director Wim Wenders continually walked the line between art house aesthetic and commercial appeal with his vast body of work. Stark early efforts, such as the nihilistic "The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick" (1972) and road movies like "Alice in the Cities" (1974), led to more focused works along the lines of "The American Friend" (1977). Having gained international notoriety, Wenders indulged his fascination with Americana in the acclaimed "Paris, Texas" (1984) then returned to Berlin for his beloved fantasy-drama "Wings of Desire" (1987). He also broadened the scope of his artistic pursuits with forays into music video and television commercial directing, photographic exhibitions, authoring several essay collections and more. While later dramatic indulgences along the lines of "Until the End of the World" (1991) and "Faraway, So Close!" (1993), were viewed as less cogent works, the filmmaker nonetheless displayed his remarkable acumen with music documentaries like "Buena Vista Social Club" (1999). With "Don't Come Knocking" (2005) he returned to the well for another American road movie with "Paris, Texas" collaborator Sam Shepard, while the audacious 3-D dance documentary "Pina" (2011) proved the director still capable of pushing boundaries. Boasting a career that spanned more than 40 years and included over 50 highly personal, yet largely accessible films, Wenders was easily one of his generation's most appreciated independent filmmakers.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Pina (2011)
3.
4.
  Invisibles (2007)
6.
  Don't Come Knocking (2005) Director
7.
8.
  Buena Vista Social Club (1998) Director
9.
  End of Violence, The (1997) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Fuller Life, A (2014)
4.
 Auge in Auge (2008)
6.
 Words In Progress (2004) Himself
8.
 Nina Hagen = Punk + Glory (2002) Himself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to Oberhausen while still a juvenile; began attending the city's annual short film festival
1966:
Began, but did not complete, application to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (to Wenders' dislike, program required a preliminary course in life drawing); studied privately with Johnny Friedlander; frequented the Cinematheque Francaise; applied to IDHEC but was not accepted
1966:
First short film as director, "Schauplatze/Locations" (16mm, 10 mins); no longer extant
:
Worked as critic for journal FILMKRITIK and newspaper DIE SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG
:
First collaboration with director of photography Robby Muller on the student film "Alabama: 2000 Light Years" (35mm, 22 mins)
1969:
First collaboration with writer Peter Handke on the independent short "3 American LPs" (16mm, 15 mins); Wenders and Handke appear in the film driving a car
1970:
Feature film directing, producing and writing debut, "Summer in the City"; made as graduation project; first collaboration with editor Peter Przygodda; film is "dedicated to the Kinks"
1970:
Along with 11 other filmmakers, formed Filmverlag der Autoren/The Filmmaker's Company to insure the distribution of their films
1971:
Professional feature directing and co-writing (with Peter Handke) debut, "The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick"; first of nine collaborations (to date) with actor Rudiger Vogler
1974:
First of three "road movies" with Vogler, "Alice in the Cities"
1975:
Second movie of trilogy, "Wrong Move"
1976:
Established his own production company, Road Movies Produktion
1976:
Completed trilogy with "Kings of the Road"
1977:
Won international attention for "The American Friend", starring Dennis Hopper and Bruno Ganz
1979:
Co-directed (with Nicholas Ray) "Lightning Over Water", detailing Ray's fight to finish his life at work while battling cancer
1982:
Indirectly documented his difficulities making first US feature "Hammett" in "The State of Things", a self-referrential film that contrasts American and European filmmaking styles
1984:
Directed "Paris, Texas", an English-language film with screenplay by Sam Shepard; guitarist Ry Cooder supplied the haunting, plaintive score
1985:
First collaboration with editor Solveig Dommartin, the documentary "Tokyo-Ga"
1987:
Made "Wings of Desire", starring Ganz as an angel who wanders Berlin, yearning for a physical, human existence
1991:
Became chair of the newly founded European Film Academy
1991:
Expressed disappointment with the 2 1/2 cut of "Until the End of the World" that was released; alternate version (more than twice as long), though still problematic, revealed what the director had been after
1995:
Participated in the "Lumiere and Company" project, shooting a scene with the original hand-cranking camera
1995:
Collaborated with Michelangelo Antonioni on "Beyond the Clouds", writing and directing the "frames" between the segments helmed by the Italian master; hired as an insurance policy in case Antonioni's health prevented him from finishing movie; last collaboration (to date) with Robby Muller as director of photography
1997:
Helmed "The End of Violence", scripted by Nicholas Klein; first feature since "Wings of Desire" to secure US distribution; director Sam Fuller portrayed Gabriel Byrne's father
1998:
"City of Angels", loosely based on "Wings of Desire" was released
1999:
Helmed the documentary "Buena Vista Social Club", focusing on Cuba musicians tracked down by Ry Cooder; film was nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Academy Award
2000:
Directed "The Million Dollar Hotel", starring Mel Gibson (Bono who collaborated with Wenders and Klein on the screenplay was originally slated to act in film); Bono had performed on the soundtrack for "The End of Violence"; Wenders has directed music videos for the band; released theatrically in the USA in 2001
2004:
Had a Cameo in the Disney live action feature "Around the World in 80 Days"
2006:
Directed Sam Shepard as a washed up cowboy actor in the neo-Western "Don't Come Knocking"
2007:
Directed the "War and Peace" segment of the French film anthology "Chacun son cinéma ou Ce petit coup au coeur quand la lumière s'éteint et que le film commence/To Each His Own Cinema"
2008:
Directed and co-wrote the drama "Palermo Shooting"
2011:
Wrote and directed the documentary "Pina," a musical tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch.
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Freiburg: - 1965
University of Freiburg: - 1965
Hochschule fur Film und Fernsehen: - 1967 - 1970

Notes

"Some of my favorite films are extremely violent. I saw 'Taxi Driver' again and I was amazed at how violent it was. A lot of my favorite films deal with violence, and Sam Fuller's films deal with it very explicitly. But they deal with it in such a way that you know why it occurs. You see it coming and you know what happens afterwards. There's not necessarily a reason for it, but you feel why it happens and sometimes you even understand why it happens. I think violence is a very important part of contemporary life, so why should it be kept out of movies? That's not my argument. My argument is that it should be treated as what it is, so people can understand it instead of savouring it. Violence is strictly a consumer product in movies now, not a story element." --Wim Wenders in Sight and Sound, May 1997.

"When Bono first sent me a draft of it, just to get my opinion, not to be involved as director, I thought, great characters. I was taken by the ambience of it, and the story. Mel Gibson's company, Icon, was developing it at the time. Then, a few years later, Bono approached me about directing it. And so I met with him and Nicholas [Klein], and we worked on it for two years. And during that time, the script became 'The Billion Dollar Hotel', because it had become a science fiction story set in the future. I worked on that with them while I was doing 'Beyond the Clouds' and 'Lisbon Story'.

So Nicholas and I came here last May, to get the film going. And even though it's not a big-budget film, it's complicated because it's a project which calls for a lot of production work. So when it became clear that it would take a little more time to get things going ... I decided to make another movie ['The End of Violence']." --Wenders quoted in Moviemaker, October 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Edda Koechl. Married in 1968; divorced in 1974.
wife:
Ronee Blakley. Actor. Married 1979, divorced 1981; wrote and performed "Lightning Over Water" song for Wenders' film of the same name; also appeared in picture.
wife:
Donata Schmidt. Married in 1979; divorced in 1981.
companion:
Solveig Dommartin. Actor, editor. Has acted in a number of Wenders' films, including "Wings of Desire" (1987) and "Until the End of the World" (1991).
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Heinrich Wenders. Surgeon.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Act of Seeing"
"My Time with Antonioni" Faber and Faber

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