Wim Wenders - A Storyteller

written on 13/11/2020
by Candice Gärtner

There are some movies in life which touch you more than others and will always be remembered as particularly moving and have a special place in your heart. Often these movies have something in common which might not be obvious at first: the director.

These kinds of directors do more than just making a movie, they are modern storytellers with their own touch and Wim Wenders is such a storyteller.

He was part of the Neuer Deutscher Film Movement, which claimed (in a manifesto from 1961) to change German filmmaking.

At that time, the film industry was mostly producing naïve and idyllic romances. The filmmakers of the Neuer Deutscher Film started to tell stories about real life workers, political subjects and topics which mattered to society – not to entertain, but to make the public reflect.

They also claimed to be as true as possible to reality, which meant that they mostly made movies without additional lighting, filmed in real apartments and not on sets, hired real people rather than actors, etc.

It was not always possible to stick to these principles, but it completely changed the German Film Industry.

This approach to storytelling by accompanying people on their journey rather than staging or enacting a portrayal, can also be seen in Wim Wender’s documentaries.

Everybody remembers ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ and it helped the musicians  in the film receive worldwide acclaim for their outstanding talents.


Also ‘Pina’, the documentary about German dance legend Pina Bausch, raised awareness about her influence on modern dance companies around the world.

‘The Salt of the Earth’ a sensitive portrait of photographer Sebastião Salgado is in itself a perfect fusion of the photographic and cinematographic art.

Maybe it was this particularly kind of sensitivity towards human beings that led to the moment in 2013 when the Vatican approached Wim Wenders for documentary about Pope Francis.

Since 1967 Wim Wenders has made a film almost every year. In August 2020 he celebrated his 75th birthday and it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down.

You can watch his movie ‘Der Himmel über Berlin’ through the online rental service of the Goethe Institut. Click here to see the article about it.

Photo 1: ©Peter Lindbergh,  Photo 2: ©Imago/Leemage, Photo 7: ©2018 CTV, Célestes, Solares, Neue Road Movies, Decia, PTS ART’s Factory