Wim Wenders And Peter Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition internationale Forschungen Zur Allgemeinen

By Joanne Leal and Martin Brady

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  • ISBN : 978 9042032477
  • Year : 2011
  • Language: English


Wim Wenders and Peter Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition 147 Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft Begr ndet von Alberto Martino und in Verbindung mit Francis Claudon Universit Paris-Est Cr teil Val de Marne R diger G rner Queen Mary University of London Achim H lter Universit t Wien Klaus Ley Johannes Gutenberg-Universit t Mainz John A McCarthy Vanderbilt University Alfred Noe Universit t Wien Manfred Pfister Freie Universit t Berlin Sven H Rossel Universit t Wien herausgegeben von Norbert Bachleitner Universit t Wien Redaktion Paul Ferstl und Rudolf P lzer Anschrift der Redaktion Institut f r Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft Sensengasse 3A A-1090 Wien Wim Wenders and Peter Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition Martin Brady and Joanne Leal Amsterdam - New York NY 2011 Cover image Carl Theodor Dreyer Vampyr 1932 courtesy of Eureka Entertainment Ltd Cover design Pier Post Le papier sur lequel le pr sent ouvrage est imprim remplit les prescriptions de ISO 9706 1994 Information et documentation - Papier pour documents Prescriptions pour la permanence The paper on which this book is printed meets the requirements of ISO 9706 1994 Information and documentation - Paper for documents - Requirements for permanence Die Reihe Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft wird ab dem Jahr 2005 gemeinsam von Editions Rodopi Amsterdam New York und dem Weidler Buchverlag Berlin herausgegeben Die Ver ffentlichungen in deutscher Sprache erscheinen im Weidler Buchverlag alle anderen bei Editions Rodopi From 2005 onward the series Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft will appear as a joint publication by Editions Rodopi Amsterdam New York and Weidler Buchverlag Berlin The German editions will be published by Weidler Buchverlag all other publications by Editions Rodopi ISBN 978-90-420-3247-7 E-Book ISBN 978-90-420-3248-4 Editions Rodopi B V Amsterdam - New York NY 2011 Printed in The Netherlands Table of Contents Acknowledgements 7 Authors Note 9 Introduction 11 1 Politics Poetics Film The Beginnings of a Collaboration 35 2 Parallel Texts Language into Image in The Goalkeeper s Fear of the Penalty 113 3 Accompanied by Text From Short Letter Long Farewell to Alice in the Cities 163 4 Mute Stories and Blind Alleys Text Image and Allusion in Wrong Move 195 5 Leafing through Wings of Desire 243 Conclusion 281 Filmographies 289 Bibliography 293 Index 309 Acknowledgements Joanne Leal would like to thank the Arts and Humanities Research Council which awarded her a grant for this project under the Research Leave Scheme She would also like to thank Birkbeck College for providing her with the Faculty Research Grant which made study leave possible Her thanks go too to the friends family and colleagues who offered support help and guidance over several years and particularly to Richard Johnson who remained convinced that this project could be finished Authors Note This book aims to make material on the collaborative films of Wim Wenders and Peter Handke available to as wide a readership as possible For this reason all quotations from German texts have been translated into English In the case of the principal prose texts by Handke and Wenders s essays we have used published translations where available Elsewhere all translations are by the authors For the sake of simplicity and in line with current scholarship we have chosen to refer to the longer prose texts of Handke as novels rather than stories or novellas In the case of the films we have used the published script for Wings of Desire but otherwise we have produced our own protocols Introduction film is film literature is literature1 The feature film can step over every border2 1 Cinema as a mixed medium Cinema is a mixed or in the terminology of Andr Bazin an impure medium In the case of German cinema literature has remained the dominant ingredient in the mix In 1962 the Autorenfilmer auteurs or writer-directors of the Young German Cinema in the Federal Republic programmatically announced their intentions in print in the form of the famous Oberhausen Manifesto According to Alexander Kluge the new film language called for in this manifesto comprised an amalgamation of different media In an article co-authored with Edgar Reitz and Wilfried Reinke in 1965 he was forthright in his assessment of the benefits of this mix Because it already includes language anyway film would actually have the capacity to articulate meanings that elude the grasp of verbal expression Thus we would have an accumulation of subjective and objective of literary auditory and visual moments which would preserve a certain tension in relation to each another The combination of verbal auditory and visual forms and their integration through montage enable film to strive for a greater degree of complexity than any of these forms in isolation We could imagine however an experimental film albeit one of extreme artistic intensity which forcefully utilizes the oscillation between literary visual and auditory elements as well as the gaps between these elements 3 Rather than simply reiterating the well-worn mantra that cinema is overly dependent on literary models although it does say this as well the essay asserts that it is only in the epic ranges of film that language itself could fully unfold to such an extent indeed that ultimately cinema could surpass even the tradition of literature 4 The use of the term epic is of course significant here in their discussion of film form Kluge and his co1 2 3 4 Robin Wood quoted in Film Literature Heritage A Sight and Sound Reader ed by Ginette Vincendeau London BFI 2001 p xi Alexander Kluge Theses about the New Media in West German Filmmakers on Film Visions and Voices ed by Eric Rentschler New York-London Holmes and Meier 1988 pp 30-32 p 32 Alexander Kluge Wilfried Reinke and Edgar Reitz Word and Film in Film and Literature An Introduction and Reader ed by Timothy Corrigan Upper Saddle River New Jersey Prentice Hall 1999 pp 229-45 p 232 p 233 p 234 and p 238 Ibid p 231 and p 234 12 Wenders and Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition authors clearly have Bertolt Brecht in mind and indeed at one point in their discussion they go so far as to use the term Verfremdungseffekt distancing effect montage they assert can generate ambiguity polyphony and variation 5 The Word and Film essay is alongside the Oberhausen Manifesto one of the most important documents of the nascent Young German Cinema of the 1960s Written under the influence of Kluge s mentor and friend Theodor W Adorno the essay demonstrates a degree of sophistication in its argumentation and rhetoric which belies the suggestion that German filmmakers were intellectually out of step with European New Wave film theory until the New German Cinema of the 1970s On the other hand the fact that it was published in a journal of linguistics might suggest that the institutional framework for discourse on film was still wanting 2 Literariness The Brechtian tenor of the Word and Film essay was of course to become both more strident and more explicitly political in the years immediately following its publication not least in the writings of Kluge himself It could be argued indeed that this seminal essay established the tone which was to dominate auteurist discourse in Germany right through to the 1980s Interestingly it does not address the question of literary adaptation itself in any great detail over and above the customary dismissal of a cinema which makes every film conform to the model of the novella 6 although a telling if brief commentary on Alain Resnais s Hiroshima mon amour 1959 based on the screenplay of Marguerite Duras does applaud the film s immersion of language in image the emergence of language from image the mutual pursuit of verbal and visual texts figures of parallelism and collision polyphony 7 Again the terminology applied to this early classic of the French New Wave is that of critical theory and dialectics Kluge himself has strenuously avoided literary adaptation across his 50-year career as a filmmaker and his disparaging remarks on the practice most famously that literary adaptations are always weaker than literature have become canonical 8 This does not mean of course that he has restricted his activities 5 6 7 8 Ibid p 232 Ibid p 230 Ibid p 240 Alexander Kluge BESTANDSAUFNAHME Utopie Film Zwanzig Jahre neuer deutscher Film Mitte 1983 Frankfurt am Main Zweitausendeins 1983 p 436 Original sources have been translated into English throughout this book Where published translations are available these have been used Otherwise all translations are by the authors See Authors Introduction 13 to the medium of cinema or renounced literature He has remained a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction who explicitly cultivates cross-media fertilisation As Olaf M ller has observed People often complain that Kluge s cinema is utterly disinterested in images meaning that the images contain no emotional or intellectual surplus Certainly from The Female Patriot on this is true images texts their fonts sizes and colours sounds music language diegetic noise are equal in expression in a way that is unmatched in the work of any other living film-maker Within this poetics a title card has the same sensual and information value as a piece of Wagner or footage from a warzone 9 As we shall see there are parallels to be drawn here with the output of Wim Wenders and Peter Handke alongside essays on film and music Wenders has also published a number of volumes of his photographs Handke has directed four films frequently includes his own drawings and photographs in his books and has even recorded improvisations on a Jew s Harp The cross-fertilisations made possible by their work across different media will be an important component of the intermedial displacements discussed in this study 10 The question of the literariness of the New German Cinema provoked fierce debate in the 1970s The so-called crisis of literary adaptation Literaturverfilmungskrise of 1977 highlighted the heavy reliance of German art-house filmmaking on literary pretexts and made it a topic of polemic and debate Many of the stars of Germany s New Wave including Jean-Marie Straub and Dani le Huillet Volker Schl ndorff Hans J rgen Syberberg Edgar Reitz Werner Herzog Werner Schroeter Rainer Werner Fassbinder Peter Lilienthal Reinhard Hauff Helma Sanders-Brahms and of course Wenders himself had directed Literaturverfilmungen literary adaptations In July 1977 Hans C Blumenberg wrote an article for Die Zeit in which he quoted Niklaus Schilling s diagnosis of the malaise of German cinema In this country we once again find ourselves confronted with a fatal 9 10 Note Olaf M ller Transformer Sight and Sound 18 2 2008 42-45 p 45 Displacement is a popular term in adaptation studies In Concepts in Film Theory Dudley Andrew observes by way of explanation that Every interpretation is based on displacement since the interpreter redirects the original object by inserting it into a new frame of reference Dudley Andrew Concepts in Film Theory Oxford-New York-TorontoMelbourne Oxford University Press 1984 p 154 Whilst Andrew s remarks relate to the concept of identification and what he terms the hermeneutic endeavor p 154 they could also be applied to the notion discussed in what follows of cinematic adaptation as reading The term displacement subsequently crops up in the writings of Robert Stam Brian McFarlane and others see notes 25 and 26 below 14 Wenders and Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition unwillingness to trust the power of the medium itself instead films are constructed on the basis of a literary source to avoid the dangers of having to deal with images and tell stories with them 11 Kluge s laconic dismissal of literary adaptation which in fact post-dates the 1977 crisis has become a mantra for those who like Blumenberg believe that German cinema has to be saved from the hegemony of literature 3 Adaptational events in the intersecting mode The remarks of both Kluge and Blumenberg provide evidence of a welldocumented tendency to view literary adaptations as an inevitably inferior act of homage to an aesthetically superior pretext In a rather more nuanced vein Dudley Andrew identifies in his discussion of Borrowing Intersecting and Transforming Sources a specifically modernist strand to the transformation of literary texts into cinema or perhaps more accurately the interplay of literature and cinema His remarks which at times echo Bazin s reflections on adaptation four decades earlier are relevant to the collaboration of Wenders and Handke and for this reason merit longer quotation The modern cinema is increasingly interested in intersecting Bresson naturally has given us his Joan of Arc from court records and his Mouchette once again from Bernanos Straub has filmed Corneille s Othon and The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach Pasolini audaciously confronted Matthew s gospel with many later texts musical pictorial and cinematic that it inspired His later Medea Canterbury Tales and Decameron are also adaptational events in the intersecting mode All such works fear or refuse to adapt Instead they present the otherness and distinctiveness of the original text initiating a dialectical interplay between the aesthetic forms of one period and the cinematic forms of our own period In direct contrast to the manner in which scholars have treated the mode of borrowing such intersecting insists that the analyst attend to the specificity of the original within the specificity of cinema An original is allowed its life its own life in the cinema The consequences of this method despite its apparent forthrightness are neither innocent nor simple The disjunct experience such intersecting promotes is consonant with the aesthetics of modernism in all the arts This mode refutes the commonplace that adaptations support only a conservative film aesthetics 12 Jean-Marie Straub and Dani le Huillet are as we shall see in the course of this study of seminal importance for both Wenders and Handke and the imprint of their work is unmistakable on both the early films of Wenders and the later ones of Handke Indeed Straub himself has characterised the adaptational filmmaking process sketched by Andrew in strikingly similar 11 12 Hans C Blumenberg Das Jahr des Teufels Die Zeit 8 July 1977 Dudley Andrew Adaptation in Film Adaptation ed by James Naremore New Brunswick New Jersey Rutgers University Press 2000 pp 28-37 p 31 Introduction 15 terms you don t film a book you enter into a dialogue with it you want to make a film out of a book because the book relates to your own experiences your own questions your own loves and hates So the first thing I do is to copy things out 13 One implication of Straub s remarks is that adaptations are not only highly subjective and thus inevitably partial and partisan but also constitute or at least begin with a process akin to reading As we will see Andrew s concept of a disjunctive modernist intersection of medial forms in cinema as opposed to a notion of less frictional adaptation is a distinction that will prove to be useful in relation to the collaborative projects of Wenders and Handke A note of caution does need to be sounded here however Andrew s observations suggest that the intersections he identifies invariably have a historical dimension to them a film adapts a pretext distant from itself not only medially but also temporally the interplay is between the aesthetic forms of one period and the cinematic forms of our own period In the case of the films discussed in this study the intersections are more complex than this Whilst there are diachronic intersections with Goethe Rilke Romantic painting and so on those in the collaborative films which constitute the central strand of this study are more typically synchronic not only in Wenders s appropriation of Handke s texts whether written specifically for a given film or not but also for example in the use of contemporary popular music It could be argued that the very title of the first collaboration 3 American LPs 3 amerikanische LP s 1969 points to this synchronicity as well as rather more obviously the film s intermedial component Although Andrew s observations are clearly not intended to imply a hierarchy of value it is still difficult to escape a subtle yet insidious inference that source material or hypotext is primary and that an adaptation or hypertext is secondary This problem is in effect comparable to that associated with Bazin s terminology of purity and impurity One of the conclusions to be drawn from our study is that the Wenders-Handke films demonstrate that non-hierarchical adaptation and collaboration is possible Indeed it will be demonstrated that the relationship between writer and filmmaker can itself be reconfigured in the act of collaboration 13 Wolfram Sch tte Gespr ch mit Dani le Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub in Klassenverh ltnisse Von Dani le Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub nach dem Amerika-Roman Der Verschollene von Franz Kafka ed by Wolfram Sch tte Frankfurt am Main Fischer 1984 pp 37-58 p 46 16 Wenders and Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition 4 Recycling remaking repetition What Andrew fails to mention or perhaps takes as read is that the directors he cites all belong to what might be termed the golden age of European New Wave cinema and are also most obviously in the case of Straub Huillet and Pier Paolo Pasolini engaged political filmmakers It is their brand of intertextual and intermedial practice often not unreasonably abbreviated to Godard-Straub or Brechtian cinema which dominated the discourse on auteurist adaptation during the sixties and seventies in Europe fostered by such eminent forums as Cahiers du cin ma Filmkritik and Screen In a disarmingly simple formulation James Naremore has described such modernist films as willfully difficult and formally experimental 14 He also prefers to view film adaptation as a subset of a much broader and perhaps less readily definable practice His conclusion which has been much quoted elsewhere is persuasive in its rhetoric The study of adaptation needs to be joined with the study of recycling remaking and every other form of retelling in the age of mechanical reproduction and electronic communication By this means adaptation will become part of a general theory of repetition and adaptation study will move from the margins to the center of contemporary media studies 15 Echoing the terminology of Andrew and at one remove from that of Bazin Naremore argues that every text is already intersected with multiple others that film should be understood within a broader theory of imitation and that all films question notions of originality autonomy and at least by implication authorship Of course this conviction coloured as it is with the rhetoric of postmodernism is some way removed from those held by Kluge Straub-Huillet Pasolini and others in the mid-1960s Inspired by Alexandre Astruc s cam ra-stylo the auteurists held not only that the film director was a writer armed with a camera rather than a pen whose principal motivation was a desire for personal expression but also that expression should manifest itself in an inimitable style Within the genre of literary adaptation proper this motivation asserts itself in the form of a first-person reader replacing or at least in dialogue with the source text s narrator first-person or otherwise In this context Naremore quotes Fassbinder s confident claim that his literary adaptations of Alfred D blin Berlin Alexanderplatz Theodor Fontane 14 15 James Naremore Introduction Film and the Reign of Adaptation in Naremore pp 1-16 p 5 Ibid p 15 As we shall see there is a striking parallel here to Handke s theory and practice of repetition as demonstrated not least in the novel Repetition Die Wiederholung 1986 which constitutes an important pre-text to Wings of Desire Der Himmel ber Berlin 1986 Introduction 17 Effi Briest and Jean Genet Querelle make no attempt to re construct a general reading of the text but constitute an unequivocal and single-minded questioning of the piece of literature and its language 16 There is a certain one might argue productive tension here between the auteurist desire for personal expression an individual authorial voice and the anti-auratic mechanical apparatus of cinema itself Naremore implicitly alludes to Walter Benjamin in this context with his phrase retelling in the age of mechanical reproduction 17 In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Benjamin observes that cinematic reproduction has a constructive and a destructive component to it whilst reproduction reactivates the object reproduced it is also inconceivable without its destructive cathartic aspect 18 5 Affirmation and renunciation Taking up Benjamin s distinction it is clear from what has been said and quoted thus far that there is a destructive component to much modernist adaptation Whilst its impetus is generally constructive politically in the sense that it explicitly or implicitly promulgates a generally left-wing political conviction it is correspondingly destructive in rejecting received definitions of literature and film To return to one of Andrew s own examples whilst Straub-Huillet s Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach 1968 faithfully and meticulously reproduces the composer s church music in original locations with original costumes and on original instruments it is also explicitly dedicated to the struggle of the Viet Cong against American imperialism and is implicitly an interrogation of the status value and autonomy of Western high art Whilst celebrating Bach s music in long uninterrupted often static takes it also questions the patronage that produced this very music and documents Gustav Leonhardt s performances of it in 16 17 18 Quoted in Naremore p 12 The original remarks made in interview appear in Rainer Werner Fassbinder Preliminary Remarks on Querelle in Fassbiner The Anarchy of the Imagination Interviews Essays Notes ed by Michael T teberg and Leo A Lensing Baltimore-London The Johns Hopkins University Press 1992 pp 168-70 p 168 As early as 1968 Handke explicitly rejected Benjamin s claim that mechanical reproduction deprived cinema of ritual artistic aura Peter Handke Theater und Film Das Elend des Vergleichens in Prosa Gedichte Theaterst cke H rspiel Aufs tze Frankfurt am Main Surhkamp 1969 pp 314-26 pp 322f Translated by Andy Blunden 1998 and 2005 http www marxists org reference subject philosophy works ge benjamin htm accessed August 2010 See Walter Benjamin Kunst im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit in Illuminationen Frankfurt am Main Suhrkamp 1977 pp 136-69 18 Wenders and Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition 1967 in a manner that is now seen as classically Brechtian and that many then and now find profoundly uncinematic This destructive dimension the dismantling of received notions of cinema and the frictional realignment of its specific medial components is we believe axiomatic of Brechtian modernist adaptation and as already mentioned dominated debates on political modernism in Screen and elsewhere for well-nigh two decades It is the contention of this study however that there is another strand to modernist adaptation of that period one which distrusts the ideological constructions of political modernism the hegemony real or perceived of political that is socialist Brechtian discourse within modernism and its strategies of adaptation Whilst this practice of non-Brechtian or post-Brechtian adaptation may also especially in its earliest manifestations in the late 1960s employ destructive methods they are adopted for regenerative largely non-ideological ends Writing in 1968 Handke rejected what he termed Brecht s lazy magic an anti-illusionism that always requires illusions and noted The method adopted in my first play consisted of negating all previous methods The method in my next play will consist in reflecting on previous methods and using them in the service of theatre 19 Handke s assertion in summary is that Brecht s political enthusiasm prevents him from re-inventing or re-configuring his chosen medium theatre in this instance because he requires its traditional communicative tools for ideological purposes An impetus potentially regenerative of theatre in its destructive momentum remains unproductively trapped within the confines of its medium or more literally within its four walls because it must also serve political ends What we find in these early essayistic observations of Handke and as we will demonstrate can also be identified in the collaborative films that share these convictions is a critique of mainstream political modernism that not only manifests itself in advance of a widespread shift towards postmodernist discourses but which has also outlived the ideological battles that engendered it At this point it is necessary to make three preliminary observations about the body of films examined in this study First it should be noted that only one of the collaborative works The Goalkeeper s Fear of the Penalty Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter 1972 is straightforwardly a literary adaptation by which we mean a cinematic rendering of a literary text already in the public domain and thus potentially known to the audience of the film 19 Peter Handke Ich bin ein Bewohner des Elfenbeinturms in Prosa pp 263-72 p 271 See also Peter Handke Stra entheater und Theatertheater in Prosa pp 303-07 Introduction 19 However as well as representing different approaches to the question of collaboration all four of the Wenders-Handke films are adaptational in a number of ways Not only does each film represent an intersectional encounter between Handke s texts and Wenders s images but also each is to a greater or lesser extent adaptational in the sense that it appropriates incorporates and often frictionally juxtaposes material from cinema s inherited media literature painting music theatre and so on 3 American LPs re-presents tracks from the three vinyl albums of the title accompanied by commentary and moody city and landscape imagery as well as realising a co-authored script Wrong Move Falsche Bewegung 1975 alludes in its dramatis personae genre and in certain motifs to Goethe s famous novel Wilhelm Meister s Apprenticeship Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre 1795 96 but also quotes Romantic painting Wings of Desire Der Himmel ber Berlin 1986 quotes Handke Rilke Benjamin and myriad other literary pictorial musical and cinematic texts Second it follows from this observation that a reading of the corpus of Wenders-Handke films using the classic tools of literary adaptation discourse what Andrew terms frequently the most narrow and provincial area of film theory would be both inappropriate and inadequate 20 It is our contention that the four jointly authored films of Wenders and Handke represent a much wider spectrum of adaptational strategies than those implied by that ubiquitous but loaded German term Literaturverfilmung with its implication of a hierarchy in which literature is primary and cinema secondary Third our study will focus on the manifestly productive tension in this particular creative partnership between adaptation and collaboration demonstrating that the four films represent a number of strikingly different ways for Wenders and Handke to come together as image- and text-makers within the medium of film Moreover it will show that this coming together has significant aesthetic and conceptual repercussions for both artists resulting in a series of individually authored works both cinematic and textual which are produced during the period of the collaboration and which manifest the same kinds of disjunctive intersection between a variety of medial forms within a single medium which is also the hallmark of the collaborations While the Wenders-Handke partnership as perhaps the most important collaboration between a writer and filmmaker in the history of European cinema is unique it can also be regarded as paradigmatic in that it demonstrates the variety of ways in which the relationship between collaboration and adaptation can be played out This 20 Andrew Adaptation p 28 20 Wenders and Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition study will in fact demonstrate that there is a direct but inverse relationship between the two put simply the more adaptational the film the less collaborational its production 6 Adaptation and beyond It is in this belief that our study departs from others concerned with Handke and Wenders The striking overlap in themes manifest throughout their creative careers is the subject of Carlo Avventi s overview of their oeuvres while David Coury is concerned to show how the work of both filmmaker and writer provides evidence of a new interest in narrative in contemporary German culture 21 Closer to our concerns is the detailed analysis of the Wenders-Handke films offered by Simone Malaguti in her book Wim Wenders Filme und ihre intermediale Beziehung zur Literatur Peter Handkes Wim Wenders s Films and their Intermedial Relationship with the Literature of Peter Handke published in 2008 Malaguti offers valuable insights into the ways in which the collaborative films and others directed by Wenders during the same period notably Alice in the Cities Alice in den St dten of 1974 and Paris Texas of 1984 adopt a range of what she variously terms transtextual and transmedial strategies Theoretical discourse allows us to differentiate between four models of adaptational strategy imitation transfiguration evocation and interpretative transformation which are in essence based on two factors the director s reaction to the source text an affirmative or negative position and the traces of the literary aspect of the source text in the film 22 She argues that The Goalkeeper s Fear of the Penalty is imitative in replicating its source novel as faithfully as possible Alice in the Cities evocative in its allusions to Handke s Short Letter Long Farewell Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied Wrong Move transformative in its refutation of Goethe s Wilhelm Meister and Paris Texas transfigurative in its implied reworking of motifs from Handke s Slow Homecoming Langsame Heimkehr tetralogy In combining aspects of all four approaches Wings of Desire is in Malaguti s opinion a conglomerate adaptation Her argument is persuasive and detailed yet in deliberately ignoring non-literary 21 22 Carlo Avventi Mit den Augen des richtigen Wortes Wahrnehmung und Kommunikation im Werk Wim Wenders und Peter Handkes Remscheid Gardez 2004 David N Coury The Return of Storytelling in Contemporary German Literature and Film Peter Handke and Wim Wenders Lewiston-Queenston-Lampeter Edwin Mellen 2004 Simone Malaguti Wim Wenders Filme und ihre intermediale Beziehung zur Literatur Peter Handkes Frankfurt am Main Peter Lang 2008 p 189 Introduction 21 intermedial and in the case of film citations intramedial exchange her analysis of the films remains necessarily partial It is our intention to identify through close reading ways in which in the course of the collaborative process and in other works of the same period Wenders and Handke expand intermediality beyond the literary to encompass a wider spectrum of interactions and exchanges 7 Non-Brechtian adaptation Andrew has pointed out that every representational film adapts a prior conception 23 In the more limited sense that the term adaptation is generally used in Film Studies the text re-presented tends to be already treasured as a representation in another sign system most commonly that of narrative prose fiction 24 Without expanding the meaning of the term ad absurdum this study uses the term adaptation more flexibly as its title programmatically suggests Across a twenty-year period Wenders and Handke experimented with a multiplicity of intermedial transpositions not only in their four direct collaborations but also in their independent works in print and on screen What is immediately apparent is that neither is willing even in the late 1960s to adhere to the orthodoxy of the Brechtian models of political modernist adaptation despite their enthusiastic advocacy of certain works by its practitioners It is this which not only earned them a fair degree of censure at the time but which has also we contend impeded the subsequent reception of their collaborative work Their collaborations simply fall outside the main thrust of the discourse on modernist adaptation On a more pragmatic level of course the generally lukewarm reception of more recent Wenders films and growing hostility towards Handke in the wake of his frequently intemperate interventions into debates on Serbia and its neighbours have doubtless also played their part in re-directing interest away from these films as has the banal fact that the first two of the collaborative films are not available commercially Yet these four films and the numerous contemporary works of Wenders and Handke related directly or indirectly to them have much to add to debates on adaptation and intermediality In particular they exhibit a rigorously critical take on image-making linguistic expression and narrative or story-telling which we have chosen to term recompositional The Wenders-Handke films dismember literature cinema and less rigorously perhaps music Deconstruction with its post-structuralist post-68 and 23 24 Andrew Adaptation p 29 Ibid 22 Wenders and Handke Collaboration Adaptation Recomposition post-ideological connotations is not the appropriate term for this process In the films and texts examined here the adaptational process in which for example one medium is redefined or recomposed in terms of others film as photography as music as painting as poetry for example or alternatively literature as film must of course be categorised as modernist The processes employed are related to the kind of disjunctive intersections described by Andrews but they are neither underpinned by nor subservient to ideological considerations Remaining outside any dialectical configuration they are frequently unstructured intuitive melancholic even and only partially amenable to exegesis It is this that makes these films not only unusual in their own time but also as suggested above of lasting significance Unlike many politically modernist films of the same period Brechtian or otherwise they have not aged with an ideology that spawned them This is not to say that they are not in Naremore s words willfully difficult and formally experimental at times they are both However the process which we have chosen to term recomposition is sufficiently organic and flexible to evolve from film to film in unpredictable undogmatic and stimulating ways Brian McFarlane has rightly noted in the introduction to his seminal theory of adaptation Novel to Film that the process of adaptation can encompass anything from near-reverential fidelity to a commentary on or in more extreme cases a deconstruction bring ing to light the internal contradictions in seemingly perfectly coherent systems of thought of the original 25 The collaborations of Wenders and Handke encompass we believe precisely this range of approaches to source material sometimes even within one film and in so doing constitute a unique body of work amongst writer-filmmaker partnerships 8 Adaptation as translation and transcription In his essay Beyond Fidelity The Dialogics of Adaptation Robert Stam describes cinema as a composite language by virtue of its diverse matters of expression sequential photography music phonetic sound and noise which inherits all the art forms associated with these matters of expression 26 At times his enthusiastic endorsement of cinematic heterogeneity even comes close to the rhetoric of Kluge in the Word and Film essay albeit stripped of the political subtext He also suggests that the 25 26 Brian McFarlane Novel to Film An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation Oxford Clarendon Press 1996 p 22 Robert Stam Beyond Fidelity The Dialogics of Adaptation in Naremore pp 54-76 p 61

Author Joanne Leal and Martin Brady Isbn 978 9042032477 File size 5 7 MB Year 2011 Pages 316 Language English File format PDF Category Other This is the first volume in English to examine in detail one of the most remarkable collaborations between a writer and filmmaker in European cinema Focusing on the four films Wim Wenders and Peter Handke made between 1969 and 1987 3 American LPs The Goalkeeper s Fear of the Penalty Wrong Move and Wings of Desire it explores the productive tension