Wings of Desire, revisited

My nephew is 19, sculpting himself with a chisel made of psychology from clay made of philosophy. It is a thrill to see. I tell him tonight I have enjoyed connecting with him, and his family, and my family, after years of disconnect, but if I walk out of Oregon tomorrow and disappear for another half decade I will not look back with a shred of guilt; my absence is proof of my interest or concentration on something beyond my self. He gets it. The signposts are everywhere, I say, of directions to take in becoming something other than yourself. To prove it, we grab four movies which I claim as watershed markers in my own personality: Aguirre Wrath of God, Turtles Can Fly, Wings of Desire and Tzametti 13. We put on Wings of Desire, which I have not seen for more than fifteen years. It is slower, more poetic, than I remember, and there are some beautiful lines couched in sharp and memorable images. I have grown to dislike the director, Wim Wenders, for many of his movies since, and as I watch this again I understand why: This is a written gem, and Wenders did not write Wings of Desire. I remember Julia the balet dancer in Berlin telling me this was not a movie by Wenders, even if his name was on the masthead, and I ignored her warnings since I was older and knew better. I was wrong to do so. One line jumps out at me: the subtitles read "absence of pleasure," and I think what a great name for a book, and my nephew laughs out loud and says the line in German to the effect of lustlessness. We are on the same page, he and I, responding to the same line. We switch off after 45 minutes and I ask him if he's seen another movie like it. No, he says, it's very sophisticated, the lines, the images, original. I leave him to sleep and at 2:30 am come home here to write more, to write something lovely and sophisticated.