MR. TREE (TIFF 2011) – This is a film where reality is fluid, where the audience isn’t sure what is real. We’re presented with the world as it appears to Mr. Tree, village idiot. People seem largely quite friendly and people seem happy to see him, and they trust his opinion enough to select him as their representative… But as becomes more and more clear, this all seems to be in his head. People may not be suffering his actions as well as we’re seeing here. I enjoyed the performances, but it is a peculiar film…
WINGS OF DESIRE – The angels are voyeurs. The most mundane things excite them – the act of kicking one’s shoes off under the table, coming home after a long day, a white pencil, would-be trapeze artists. The angels witness; thoughts, actions, hidden shames… to what end? Celestial make-work project. Eventually, they tire of it, and choose to fall, hoping for some colour.
This isn’t just the story of an angel’s jump down from grace, but of a dozen or more people at vulnerable points in their lives; it’s a tapestry of desperation. It also shows how it can be beautiful.
I love how Peter Falk plays Peter Falk here; albeit with some slight fictional augmentation to his backstory. I forgot how much different, how much better, both the story and the ending are here than in the ‘remake’ CITY OF ANGELS.
Performances by Crime and The City Solution and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds are a nice touch for that West Berlin atmosphere.