Unless otherwise noted all shorts were written, produced, directed,
photographed and edited by Wim Wenders
16 mm B&W
PLAYER SHOOTS AGAIN
16 mm B&W/Viagr.
no other filmmaker of our time, Wim Wenders has explored cinema
from its very beginning." - Die Zeit.
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."
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
"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."
16 mm Eastman Color
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."
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."
Jimmy Vogler (demonstrator)
Wim Wenders and
Bayrischer Rundfunk, Munich
16 mm B&W
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."
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."
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."
2000 LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME
Wim Wenders and
Paul Lys (hero)
Wim Wenders and
Hochschule für Fernsehen
und Film, Munich
35 mm B&W
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."
Credence Clearwater Revival
Wim Wenders and
Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt am Main
12 min. (15 min.)
16 mm Eastman Color
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)