Nick's Movie / Lightning over Water : The State of Things : A Trick of the Light Nick's Movie / Lightning over Water LIGHTNING OVER WATER is a penetrating and touching film of the last days of cult American director Nicholas Ray, most well-known for REBEL WITHOUT CAUSE. "I knew that he wanted to work, to die working", Wim Wenders says in the movie. And through his work with Wenders and the crew, Ray transformed his dying into an act of collaboration and a work of art. Dying slowly of terminal cancer, Ray chose not to institutionalize himself in a hospice and fade away in an old people's home but stayed in his modest New York City loft, surrounded by his closest friends - a sharp and poignant contrast to the comparative luxury of his Hollywood years. The film is lovingly assembled by Wenders, whose reverence of Ray is evident in every frame of his own work. Ray reflects on a lifetime of accomplishments, failures and compromises, and reminisces about Joan Crawford, James Dean and the many other Hollywood stars that appeared in his films. The film follows the progress of death, for once really at work, in 35 mm and on video, in an inside/outside organic continuity. Wenders, and us with him, get used to the idea of death - that neither he who makes a movie nor he who looks at it are immortal. The central issue of the contract between Wim and Nick is the act of love from the young director to his cursed father/master - an identification that is also an exorcism. The State of Things THE STATE OF THINGS is a highly autobiographical work concerning a shoestring movie producer and his ragtag crew. Stranded in the outer reaches of Spain, the director does not even have any film in his camera. There's nothing left to do but scare up a potential backerGÇöpreferably one of those rich, movie-mad Americans. In illustrating the plight of the fictional filmmakers, Wenders strikes a blow on behalf of the homeless and disenfranchised everywhere; it is also a sharp recreation of the difficulties faced by Wenders during production of his first American film HAMMETT. A Trick of the Light This film by Wim Wenders and students of the Munich Film Academy deals with the birth of cinema in Berlin, where the brothers Skladanowsky built a projector, the "Bioskop," at the same time as the Lumi+â-¿re brothers in France and Edison in America, and thereby co-invented "moving pictures" in their very own poetic, poor, endearing and rather "un-German" way. The film starts a hundred years ago and it ends in present day 1996 with Max Skladanowsky's daughter Lucie who still remembers her dad and those early days of cinema very well. The film was shot mostly on an old hand-cranker from the twenties, silent, in the best slapstick tradition.
Wim Wenders on Film
Three Films by Wim Wenders