Lisbon Story

on May 31, 1995 by Wade Major
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Winner of three major awards at previous Cannes fests (for "Paris, Texas," "Wings of Desire" and "Faraway, So Close"), writer/director Wim Wenders finds himself out of the competition selection and in the less prestigious Un Certain Regard sidebar. And with good reason. Moving him ever closer to complete incongruity, Wenders' latest effort showcases both the best and worst of the famed German auteur's aesthetics.
   The mostly English-language "Lisbon Story" centers on the curious adventures of a movie sound technician (a compelling Rudiger Vogler) who bolts to the Portuguese capital at the urgent call of a filmmaker friend for whom he's been assembling a soundtrack. Upon his arrival, he discovers his friend has disappeared, leading the technician into an apparently thickening web of intrigue.
   Alas, the intrigue peters out in this Road Movies Filmproduktion effort in favor of an unbelievably anti-climactic resolution that finds Wenders again wallowing in esoterica and ordering on self-indulgence. When the two friends finally connect, it's but the beginning of the end--an interminable dialogue on man, movies and life. Even a brief cameo by Portugal's Manoel de Oliveira (himself represented in the Competition section with "O Convento") comes off as forced, obvious and pretentious. Yet "Lisbon Story's" excesses are almost forgivable, inasmuch as Wenders has something to say about the lost greatness of the movies. If only his film weren't so symptomatic of what it bemoans. Starring Rudiger Vogler and Patrick Bauchau. Directed and written by Wim Wenders. Produced by Ulrich Felsberg and Paolo Branco. An Indie release. Mystery. Unrated. Running time: 105 min. Screened at Cannes '95.
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