Words of Wisdom from Wim Wenders
During the 2015 Berlinale, German filmmaker Wim Wenders, who’s been making films for almost five decades and is behind the 50 advice to aspiring filmmakers, offered a thoughtful and inspiring speech when receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award on what bounds and separates Lifetime and Film Time.
Wim Wenders on How Lifetime and Film Time Intersect and Differ
“While Walter was talking, I couldn’t help but thinking about Time. Lifetime. It’s a funny profession we’re working in Walter, because in our work we turn Lifetime into Film Time.
Lifetime is fluid and liquid and seems so large but is, in the end, limited after all. Film Time is rigid and is sort of a time capsule, but strangely enough, it lasts longer than our Lifetime, and it survives us, Film Time.
Some of the images I saw today reminded me of that. There was my dear Otto, there was Denis, but I also thought of Lou Reed, I thought of Peter Falk, and their beautiful voices are still talking to us. Otto’s incredible voice. Peter’s unforgettable strange voice. Lou Reed’s voice. And they still talk to us and sing to us, although they are no longer with us.
So Film Time is a strange thing. And when I sort of look at the equation of Lifetime and Film Time, I think I have to apply the same rule to both of them. In Lifetime, I’m 70 years old, almost, so I think I have experienced enough to say that, in Lifetime, nothing counts that is not done with love, and conviction, and everything else falls by the wayside and nothing counts. And I think the same goes for movies as well, for Film Time. Everything you do in this Film Time without love is also not going to survive.
So really it means that as a filmmaker, getting this award, I have to share it with those people who gave me a lot of their Lifetime to turn it into Film Time because their Lifetime is just as unique and precious and loving as anybody else’s.”
Wenders then go on naming the many collaborators in all possible disciplines that have helped give life to his work and vision.
It’s a beautiful and powerful scene to watch, and Wenders does a great job at thanking meaningfully those whose names are easily forgotten (or never learned!), reminding us that Films might survive us, but there is never one name behind them, and whether good or bad, they are always the sum of many Lifetimes.
A few decades apart in experience and age, Wenders talk doesn’t go without reminding me of Ava DuVernay’s last speech at SXSW, about paying attention to your intention. A recommended watch that can easily slide under the radar but tackles an essential matter.
You can watch the full ceremony below: