I’ve said it before and I’ll say it yet again; the amount of cinematic riches at the finger tips of fans in the Greater Toronto Area is just flat out embarrassing.
Kicking off this weekend our friends at the TIFF Bell Lightbox have launched a retrospective that just might be mentioned as some of the best of the year to hit their screens as On The Road: The Films of Wim Wenders is screening from now until March 6th in concert with another retrospective called Wim’s Friends: American Friends & Foreign Influences that runs until March 17th and shows off some of the influences and personal friends of a director who just easily might be one of the more influential voices on the world stage of cinema.
Kicking off with his landmark debut, The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, along with 2/3rds of his self professed ‘road trilogy’; the beautifully understated Alice In The Cities & The Wrong Move along with Lightening Over Water; his doc-fiction hybrid takes a look at the final cancer-stricken days of his friend and major influence Nicholas Ray.
The retrospective which proudly features digital restorations of a lot of his earlier works that had been feared lost, include more of his early German oeuvre, his short films which highlight a fascination with music and American pop culture along with some of his early English Language films like This American Friend & Paris, Texas.
While On The Road highlights his achievements, Wim’s Friends gets to show us the wide array of works that he brought to the table every time he made a film. This retrospective includes films by not only Nicholas Ray, but the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Monte Hellman’s Two Lane Blacktop, Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story along with classic Hollywood entries from John Ford & Howard Hawks alongside foreign avant-garde gems from Leos Carax & Jean Renoir. It’s a rare thing but the retrospective about his influences is almost as interesting as the one tracking the works of the man himself.
On The Road also features the rare screening of his sci-fi epic, Until The End of the World on Feb. 21st that I for one am very much looking forward to, all 295 minutes of it, along with one of his most popular films, about a group of forgotten Cuban musicians coming out of retirement for one last bow in the sun with Buena Vista Social Club. It all wraps up on March 5th and 6th with a screening of perhaps his most influential movie to date Wings of Desire (that spawned the god awful City of Angels)and his 3D dance documentary Pina; which in my humble opinion helped to legitimize the modern dance movie like the Step Up franchise (but more on that later)
You can learn more about On The Road: The Films of Wim Wenders and Wim’s Friends: American Friends & Foreign Influences both here and here respectively. Plus stay tuned to our ongoing coverage as we cherry pick a couple of gems out of the lineup. Keep your eyes open in the lobby of the Lightbox, you just might see me there more than once during these retrospectives.