Notebook on Cities and Clothes. 1989. West Germany/France. Directed by Wim Wenders. In English, Japanese; English subtitles. 81 min.
With Wim Wenders, Yohji Yamamoto. Commissioned by the Centre Georges Pompidou to make a film about the relationship between fashion and cinema, Wenders chose the inimitable Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto as his subject. As with Nick’s Film: Lightning over Water, he moved between celluloid and video during the shoot, reinforcing the impressionistic aspect of the film’s title. Notebook on Cities and Clothes is a remarkably intimate view of a visionary designer’s working methods and sources for inspiration, as Yamamoto muses on the beauty of asymmetry, makes sartorial observations about August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century, and prepares what Wenders describes as the “montage” of his runway shows. The film is an inquiry into Wenders’s mutable language of cinema—the celluloid and the electronic—and Yamamoto’s mutable language of fashion—“the fluid and the solid, the fleeting and the permanent, the fugitive and the stable.” New digital restoration.