I can't now remember what prompted me to rent this movie, but I'm very glad I did. The central premise is not apparently very atheist-attracting, but bear with me.
The movie mainly follows a few main characters as they pass through Berlin - two timeless angels, Peter Falk
(playing himself as an actor shooting a war movie), a circus acrobat and an ageing poet. Through the angels, the audience is able to hear the thoughts of the other characters, which makes for an interesting cinematic style. There isn't really an enormous amount of dialogue in this film, since what little action there is is mostly observed through the eyes (and "ears") of the angels. They do occasionally give comfort to the other characters by touching them, but they are mainly detached onlookers.
The actors playing the two main angels - Bruno Ganz
(who did such a fantastic job portraying Hitler in "Downfall" (2004)
) and Otto Sander
- brilliantly express the wonder, joy and sadness they see around them as they observe humanity. Solveig Dommartin
is also very good as the actobat. It is a sad movie, really, although it does have a hopeful "...to be continued..." end which leaves the way open for the sequel
, which I've not yet seen.
The whole thing ends up being like a visual poem on humanity and in fact it is interspersed with spoken poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke
, which is also haunting.
I'd recommend it, although I know not everyone is willing to sit through 2 hours of subtitles (unless you're able to read German). It certainly isn't your average Hollywood movie."Der Himmel über Berlin" (1987)