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Palermo ShootingGermany 2008
Directed by Wim Wenders
Running time 124 minutes
It would be easy to dismiss this film as hopelessly self-regarding. Look at the story for a start. The central character is a celebrity art/fashion photographer who is having a crisis of conscience and so packs up his crew after getting “a sign”, goes to Palermo in order to get real, does a marvey shoot of some preggers model (Inga Busch), then decides to hang around in search of meaningfulness. He meets a beautiful restorer (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) of frescoes who takes him home so that he can figure out who is the phantom pursuer is who shoots at him with arrows while his supposedly angst-ridden odyssey is scored by a lot of pop songs which he is supposed to be hearing on his headphones but which we can hear too.
Wenders even gives Lou Reed a cameo as a spectral apparition who speaks to the photographer while a Velvet Underground song plays in the background. Eventually Dennis Hooper turns up at the end dusted in flour and purports to be Death and the two engage in philosophic banter à la Heaven Can Wait.
For all its purblindness Palermo Shooting is so stylishly made that, like a high quality coffee-table book, one can be carried along by the imagery, whether the urban modernism of Dusseldorf, the decaying streets of Palermo, or the Escher-like dream sequences, and so while away a reasonably pleasant time tantalized by the intimations of depth beyond the seductive surface. The photographer, Finn, is played by Campino, who in real life is frontman for a popular German head-banging band called Die Toten Hosen, and he sails through this with just the right amount of rockstar cool for Wenders’ style-conscious approach.
FYI: Wenders dedicates the film to Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman. Wenders co-directed Antonioni's final feature, Beyond The Clouds, which bears some comparison with this film.
Available from: Shock Entertainment