Thursday, March 31, 2016

April 2 End of the World

Until The End of the World is one of my favorite films. It is one of Wim Wenders' road movies, spanning continents.

It has two beautiful problems: it's too long and its soundtrack is too good.

Both problems are solved for one night only.

The film was shot in 15 cities over 7 countries. Made 25 years ago, it presages technology we have today, and some not yet invented.

It tells the story of a secret military invention which can record movies that blind people can see. A son steals the device to record visits to his parents' friends around the world and bring them to his elderly mother who is blind. A plot complication is the impending crash of a nuclear satellite to earth. Along the way he meets Claire and they fall in love. The son and Claire are chased across the world by many characters wanting the device back, chasing the proceeds of a bank robbery, lovers and exes chasing one another and chasing some rare opals. The plot is finally resolved in Australia in scenes surreal and beautiful. It's a science fiction road movie music video made by a gifted director.

Like many films, Until The End of the World has been released at various run lengths. It streams in the US at 157 minutes. It was released on VHS at 158 minutes. In Europe it has been released at 179 and 280 minutes. Janus has restored the film and worked with the director to release a 295 minute version at 4K. That shows tonight. One night only.

The film's other challenge is a sprawling soundtrack. The selections range from top pop bands, college radio favorites, to field recordings of Pygmies singing in the Central African Republic. Many parts of the film read as a very good music video. But getting worldwide musical rights for each film release is a challenge. For tonight, that problem solves as well. But there will unlikely ever be a 295 minute worldwide release.

Film Until the End of the World at the Portland Art Museum - NW Film Center Whitsell Auditorium 1219 SW Park 5PM $9