I like foreign films allot, but my favourite film genres are horror and hopeless romance, neither which I have ever associated with German culture. While browsing the titles, I came across a film titled “Der Himmel uber Berlin”. Upon further examination the jacket revealed that this movie was the inspiration for the American made “City of Angels” film. So, seeing how inexpensive it was, and how much it had peaked my interest I decided to buy it instead of the movie I had come to purchase.
It would be another week before I would have the time to watch it, but when I did I was astonished. I sat riveted throughout the entire film. Without a doubt this film was able to destroy all the ideas I had formed about German films. It is a touching story, classically stoic about an angel that falls in love with a woman; however, there is much more in this film than the rich main plot. Like a lot of European films it is vary scattered, following multiple ideas and characters through out the durations of the film. With this style the director isn’t limited to just his main story line, but can explore personal philosophies, social criticisms, and many other riveting issues. This film blends philosophy and intelligence seamlessly along side a romantic tale about a confused angel.
The story line follows two angels whose jobs it is to find beauty in the day to day life of the people on Earth. Eventually the eternity of observation catches up to Damiel, one of the two angels, who decides he would rather live and die being able to effect history, than to simply watch it play out for eternity. After meeting another angel who had already left the fold, played by Peter Faulk, Damiel decides to fall from grace. After meeting one last time to compare notes with his good friend Cassiel, Damiel sheds his wings and falls to Earth with a crashing thud. Almost immediately Damiel goes to Peter Faulk for guidance. Now, they are able to talk to each other, instead of Peter talking while Damiel listens on from another plain of existence. Peter Faulk gives Damiel a little money and encourages him to go off and find the woman which inspired him.
After a little soul searching and city searching, Damiel finally finds the woman he is after, who had been dreaming about Damiel for sometime. The film skips forward a bit, after the first night they met, and shows how their life together has become. Damiel is happy, finally able to touch and feel the world he has watched for so long, and the woman he fell to Earth for is happy, finding a direction to follow in life, with the support of someone who cares about her. It is a very touching film, with moments of subtle comedy, stoic philosophy, and heart tugging romance. It is truly a great film, and has inspired me to look further into German films.