Until the End of the World (director’s cut). 1991/94. Germany/France/Austria/USA. Directed by Wim Wenders. In English, French, Italian, German, Japanese; English subtitles
Screenplay by Wim Wenders, Peter Carey. With Solveig Dommartin, William Hurt, Jeanne Moreau, Chishu Ryu, Max von Sydow, Sam Neill. The grandest entry in Wenders’s filmography and his only work of science fiction (which became something of a reality with the subsequent arrival of cellphones, Google Glass, and Skype), Until the End of the World is a globetrotting trilogy, filmed across nine countries and four continents, and presented in his rarely screened director’s cut. The year is a futuristic 1999, as a nuclear satellite hurtling toward Earth threatens annihilation, and the glamorous and self-destructive Claire Tourneur (Dommartin) is in pursuit of a mysterious hitchhiker (Hurt) who possesses a device that can allow the blind to see by recording “the biomechanical event” of perception itself. When the machine is repurposed to visualize the dreams of those who submit to having their subconscious transcribed, the movie evolves from an epic road movie—thick with romance and intrigue—to a sinister parable about falling under the sway of images. Though the film was cut significantly for its original release, this retrospective offers a unique opportunity to view Wenders’s own edit. New digital preservation. 295 min; 10-minute intermission.