One Who Set Forth: Wim Wenders' Early Years

Year of participation 2008
Program Non-competition Programs

One Who Set Forth: Wim Wenders' Early Years
Producer(s) Ebbo Demant, Stefanie von Ehrenstein (Mitarbeit), Karoline von Roques, Julia Kaczmarek, Sonia Otto
Director(s) Marcel Wehn
Script Marcel Wehn
Director of Photography Sarah Rotter
Production designer Jenny Rösler, Imke Thun
Music by Can Erdogan
Sound Marcel Ahrens
Edit Dorothee Broeckelmann
Cast Wim Wenders, Donata Wenders, Edda Köchl, Bruno Ganz, Lisa Kreuzer, Heinz Badewitz, Helmut Färber, Yella Rottländer, Peter Handke, Robby Müller, Peter Przygodda, Ulrike… Sachweh
Production company(-ies) INDI Film GmbH Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg Südwestrundfunk (SWR)


“I am my own history”, is how the character Kamikaze responds to the question “who are you?” in Wim Wenders’s Kings of the Road. Drawing parallels between his early films and his personal biography, this documentary traces Wim Wenders’ own history, focusing on the director’s life prior to his leaving Germany for the USA after his international breakthrough with The American Friend (1976/77). In intimate conversations, Wim Wenders talks about his sheltered upbringing in post-war Oberhausen. The film follows him on a journey into the past that takes him to Paris, where he lived as a young painter and made his decision to become a filmmaker. He recounts his experiences, successes and failures as a film student on the way to becoming a director. He also conveys the attitudes and the euphoric mood among the first intake of students at a newly founded film school in Munich. Apart from Wenders himself, some of his most important fellow-travelers also have their say, including Peter Handke, Robby Müller, Rüdiger Vogler, Bruno Ganz and Lisa Kreuzer. As they remember, they discuss some of the fundamental, recurring themes of Wenders’ films – such as the search for identity, friendship and communication. These exponents also discuss their own personal experiences of Wenders – on both private and professional levels. Excerpts from Wenders’ early works illustrate how, time and again, the filmmaker was portraying people he knew and experiences that were authentic. This is just one of the ways in which this documentary sheds new light on the early films of Wim Wenders.

 Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation
Festival Coverage