In Freundschaft

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Stations of the Cross, St Stephen Walbrook, London, 2017

Laura Moffatt, ‘Stations of the Cross and Resurrection’, Art & Christianity, No 90, Summer 2017
Muriel Zagha, ‘From Psycho to Transcendence’, Elephant, 2017
Stations of the Cross | Stations of the Resurrection, Stations 2017, catalogue, ISBN 978-1-5272-0874-2s 

from the series Stations of the Cross

© acknowledgements:
The American Friend (1977) 


The Ninth Station:  Jesus falls the third time

A reading from ‘Through the Eyes of Angels, Cowboys, and Christians: A tribute to Wim Wenders, and an appreciation of his films’, by Jeffrey Overstreet

When you watch a film by Wim Wenders, you’re asked to consider the world through starkly different perspectives. Each of his narratives focus on people whose views are limited, and who need to be reconciled into a more complete understanding. In his beloved, Cannes-award-winning masterpiece — Wings of Desire (1987) — Wenders follows angels on their daily beat through the troubled streets of Berlin before the wall was torn down. There, an angel named Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wanders and listens to the needy thoughts of the despairing citizens, and he marvels at the faith of wide-eyed children. Damiel longs to know the joys of sensory experience. And when he encounters a human being — a beautiful circus trapeze performer named Marion (Solveig Dommartin) who longs for communion with a kindred spirit — he finds the provocation to “take the plunge” into human form and pursue her. As her guardian angel, he offers almost imperceptible spiritual comfort. As his muse, Marion lures him to embrace the mystery of human experience, so that even the simple joy of holding a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning inspires him to reverence and wonder, revealing the sacred in the ordinary… By tuning our attention to the perspective of angels, viewers often find renewed appreciation for the incarnational nature of creation, and greater apprehension of God’s love in the highs and lows of daily life. Those rewards come from attentive viewing, but also through patient filmmaking, and Wenders has learned to be watchful and open to surprises in the course of a project. In a recent issue of MovieMaker, he volunteered a list of 50 tips for filmmakers. One in particular stands out: “Films can reveal the invisible, but you have to be willing to let it show.” I asked Wenders what he meant by that during my recent interview with him for Christianity Today. “This is one of the amazing achievements of film,” he assured me, “that they can reveal something that you can’t actually see. When I started out as a painter, I strictly believed in the visible, and that the visible was it. And in the course of making movies, I realized that something I hadn’t actually seen in front of my camera was then there in the movie.” This was especially true during the filming of Wings of Desire. While Wenders was, at the time, distancing himself from his religious upbringing, he found that filming from the perspective of imaginary angels caused him to discover and capture wondrous and meaningful things that he had never planned. “I never really thought that a film could deal with anything metaphysical…. And when we finished it, I thought, ‘How much help can I possibly get?’ It felt like I had almost made the film completely unconsciously, and that the angels that I had sort of ‘called’ had actually been there to help me.” The audience’s enthusiasm for Wings of Desire around the world amazed Wenders, and the experience of making the film and observing its influence played a part in renewing his Christian faith. “There was no explanation for the powerful impact that these figures had on audiences,” he recalls. “What I had taken for a metaphor had, sort of miraculously, materialized. So I came to terms with the fact that the invisible was powerfully working in movies. I just had to let it happen. You can’t make it happen. I don’t think you can consciously evoke that. At least, I didn’t.”