The State of Things | Chicago Reader

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121 minutes · 1982

Made during a production delay on Hammett, this 1982 Wim Wenders film is about a production lull on a low-budget science fiction film being made in Portugal by an American crew and an expatriate German director (Patrick Bauchau). The autobiographical tease allows Wenders to work in many direct personal statements on Hollywood versus European cinema, narrative versus nonnarrative, and corporate versus independent filmmaking, yet much of the film's artistic interest comes from Wenders's deliberate distancing of the subject: while the material slowly degenerates into self-indulgence and stasis, Wenders's framing (plus Henri Alekan's majestic black-and-white photography) remains rigorously formal; a thriller ending filmed in Los Angeles reasserts the primacy of classical storytelling. A must-see if you are at all interested in Wenders's work; the unconverted may find it rather gaseous.
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