Until The End Of The World

Wim Wenders’s most ambitious feature (1991), budgeted at $23 million and shot in no fewer than nine countries, certainly qualifies as a failure, but it’s also well worth seeing for its often stunning cinematography (by Robby Muller) and some of its SF notions about life on this planet in the near future. The first part of the film follows Solveig Dommartin as she rushes across Europe on the heels of a hitchhiker (William Hurt) who’s stolen money she’d been carrying to Paris for some bank robbers; she is followed in turn by a sympathetic former lover and novelist (Sam Neill). The second part, restricted to the Australian outback, deals with the scientific experiments Hurt needs the money for, which will enable his blind mother (Jeanne Moreau) to see visual recordings of the remainder of her family. Scripted by Wenders and Australian novelist Peter Carey and based on an idea by Wenders and Dommartin, the film fails largely because of the flatness of its characters and the awkwardness of its dialogue (though there’s a likable turn by Rudiger Vogler as a German Hammett-style gumshoe); the SF experiments in Australia also borrow rather heavily and gracelessly from the work of Chris Marker (e.g., La jetee and Sans soleil). With Max von Sydow and Ernie Dingo. (JR)

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