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Wings of Desire (1987)

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Persiflage wrote:

: What I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned yet, is the parrallel to the fact that some angels in the Bible decided to woe women too. And these were, notably, fallen angels.

According to some interpretations of Genesis 6, yes.

FWIW, I think it's more likely that Genesis 6 harks back to a really old mythology, shared with the Greeks and others, whereby the gods mated with human women and produced super-strong demi-god heroic offspring -- all of whom were wiped out by some sort of Flood because there was something wrong with the existence of creatures that were neither fully divine nor fully human. (There seem to be traces of Flood lore in Homer's Iliad, just as there are traces of the demi-god hero mythology in Genesis 6.)

Couldn't the text be about angels and still have a relationship with the mythology you mention?

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Ryan H. wrote:

: Couldn't the text be about angels and still have a relationship with the mythology you mention?

Perhaps, though I'm not sure what sort of relationship you have in mind: historical? literary? etc.

To put this another way: I tend to regard the earliest chapters of Genesis as mythological, not historical in the modern sense of "history". In other words, it doesn't particularly matter to me whether people named Cain and Abel really existed, etc. I do, however, believe in the existence of angels, if only because so many people throughout history claim to have encountered them, not least in the pages of the New Testament. So I can certainly see how an ancient myth about gods mating with women and producing heroic offspring came to evolve within a monotheistic tradition to the point where the gods in this myth were eventually believed to be identical to the angels who actually exist in real life. But in order for me to say "the TEXT is about angels", I would have to say that this evolution had occurred before the passage in Genesis was written and/or redacted. And I'm not sure that I can do that.

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To put this another way: I tend to regard the earliest chapters of Genesis as mythological, not historical in the modern sense of "history". In other words, it doesn't particularly matter to me whether people named Cain and Abel really existed, etc.

I gathered as much. But what do you see as the significance--the importance of the Nephilim story--outside of its historicity? Why is it in the canon? Is this just a bit of "ancient myth" that accidentally popped into the canon and should be mostly ignored, or does it have some deeper theological existence? Is it a condemnation of demigod, pagan theology in the same way that Genesis 1 can be read as a rebuke to other Mesopotamian theologies (Egyptian theology seemingly having an especially strong influence in that first chapter).

Edited by Ryan H.

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Ryan H. wrote:

: But what do you see as the significance--the importance of the Nephilim story--outside of its historicity? Why is it in the canon?

Well, the immediate reason is that it provides the motivation for the Flood. The early chapters of Genesis are all about making a clear distinction between divinity and humanity: it is wrong for humans to have the knowledge of good and evil that God has, it is wrong for humans to mate with gods and produce semi-divine offspring, it is wrong for humans to build towers into the heavens where only God or the gods are allowed to live. In a culture defined by its kosher laws, and its belief that it is wrong to wear clothing of mixed fabrics etc., these are serious, serious matters.

The reference to the Nephilim serves a secondary purpose inasmuch as the Nephilim, just like the Greek heroes,1 were believed by later generations to be giants -- and there seems to be evidence in the time between Moses and David that the Hebrews interacted with people who were taller than usual (but not excessively taller; the earliest copies of the Goliath story, for example, give his height as something like 6'9"; later manuscripts exaggerated this to something over 9'). So when the Hebrews came across these "giants", they apparently said, "My goodness, these people are as tall as the Nephilim!" And then the editors of Genesis and Numbers took this further and decided that these giants WERE the Nephilim -- hence the current versions of Genesis 6 and Numbers 13 both include brief parenthetical asides to the effect that the Nephilim continued to exist AFTER the Flood, when the whole point of the Flood had been the need to get rid of the Nephilim in the first place.

1 Cimon is said to have recognized the bones of Theseus on the isle of Scyros by their enormous size (Plutarch, Theseus 38). See also the passages in Homer's Iliad which contrast the strength of the heroes with how "weak" men are "now".

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Persiflage wrote:

: What I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned yet, is the parallel to the fact that some angels in the Bible decided to woe women too. And these were, notably, fallen angels.

According to some interpretations of Genesis 6, yes.

FWIW, I think it's more likely that Genesis 6 harks back to a really old mythology, shared with the Greeks and others, whereby the gods mated with human women and produced super-strong demi-god heroic offspring -- all of whom were wiped out by some sort of Flood because there was something wrong with the existence of creatures that were neither fully divine nor fully human. (There seem to be traces of Flood lore in Homer's Iliad, just as there are traces of the demi-god hero mythology in Genesis 6.)

Later Judeo-Christian traditions did, indeed, identify the "company of the gods / sons of the gods / sons of God" as angels. (Josephus falls pretty squarely into that camp.) And even later traditions, believing that it was somehow impossible for angels to be sexual, tried to reinterpret the underlying Hebrew phrase as some sort of euphemism for the "descendants of Seth" who supposedly married the daughters of Cain, or something like that.

FWIW, the word "nephilim" basically means "fallen ones", but it appears to refer to the heroic offspring of the divine-human mating, and not to the divine beings themselves.

Splitting this off to what looks like a more appropriate thread.

As far as the story in this film goes, it's significant that Damiel has to give up his "angelhood" in order to become human and get the girl. So even though there's a question about whether the angels turned human are "fallen angels" according to the filmmakers, there's certainly a big difference between them and the fallen angels in 2 Peter 2:4/Jude 1:6. And who knows if Wenders had any idea about this at all.

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Are there any other Dallas-Fort Worth residents in forum besides me? If so, then mark this down on your calendar. On April 2nd at 8:00 pm, Tugg and I will be screening Wings of Desire at the Cinemark 14 in Denton. The catch is, I have to pre-sell 50 tickets in order for the event to happen. So, if you live in the DFW area and want to go, BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW. They won't be available at the door.

Use this link to find out information and to buy tickets.

http://tugg.com/events/show/333

Note: You will only be charged for a ticket if the event actually happens. If, for some reason, we don't meet the March 28th deadline, then you won't be charged.

Thanks guys!

EDIT - Also, if anyone knows they have DFW followers on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ I would appreciate any help you might be able to give me as far as spreading the word goes. Right now, it's all up to me. I'm doing the best I can, but I'm no marketing expert. Thanks again!

Edited by andrew_b_welch

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Are there any other Dallas-Fort Worth residents in forum besides me? If so, then mark this down on your calendar. On April 2nd at 8:00 pm, Tugg and I will be screening Wings of Desire at the Cinemark 14 in Denton. The catch is, I have to pre-sell 50 tickets in order for the event to happen. So, if you live in the DFW area and want to go, BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW. They won't be available at the door.

Use this link to find out information and to buy tickets.

http://tugg.com/events/show/333

Note: You will only be charged for a ticket if the event actually happens. If, for some reason, we don't meet the March 28th deadline, then you won't be charged.

Thanks guys!

EDIT - Also, if anyone knows they have DFW followers on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ I would appreciate any help you might be able to give me as far as spreading the word goes. Right now, it's all up to me. I'm doing the best I can, but I'm no marketing expert. Thanks again!

I lived here the past 2 years and NOW you do this? After I move to middle o' nowhere Colorado?! I wish I could help you out. Would have had 5 other roommates in as well. :(

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Are there any other Dallas-Fort Worth residents in forum besides me? If so, then mark this down on your calendar. On April 2nd at 8:00 pm, Tugg and I will be screening Wings of Desire at the Cinemark 14 in Denton. The catch is, I have to pre-sell 50 tickets in order for the event to happen. So, if you live in the DFW area and want to go, BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW. They won't be available at the door.

Use this link to find out information and to buy tickets.

http://tugg.com/events/show/333

Note: You will only be charged for a ticket if the event actually happens. If, for some reason, we don't meet the March 28th deadline, then you won't be charged.

Thanks guys!

EDIT - Also, if anyone knows they have DFW followers on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ I would appreciate any help you might be able to give me as far as spreading the word goes. Right now, it's all up to me. I'm doing the best I can, but I'm no marketing expert. Thanks again!

Hi Andrew,

I'm in DFW, and I'd like to get out to the film, though with an especially busy week that week, we'll see. I'll try to encourage some local friends to go as well.

I am glad to hear you're working on setting up screenings. I've noticed several older films screening on mid-week evenings in Dallas over the past few months, and am glad that we're getting more variety in what's showing.

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Are there any other Dallas-Fort Worth residents in forum besides me? If so, then mark this down on your calendar. On April 2nd at 8:00 pm, Tugg and I will be screening Wings of Desire at the Cinemark 14 in Denton. The catch is, I have to pre-sell 50 tickets in order for the event to happen. So, if you live in the DFW area and want to go, BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW. They won't be available at the door.

What if you don't live in the DFW area (hypothetically speaking: Washington), consider WINGS OF DESIRE a load of pretentious hooey, and couldn't be forced into the Cinemark 14 in Denton on that day with a cattle prod behind you and a naked Reese Witherspoon in front of you ...

BUT

... want to support the showing of boring art movies in small Southern burghs.

In other words, Andrew ... and I'm being totally serious, earlier tone aside ... would you consider it an insult if I bought a ticket to contribute to letting the film go forward but then didn't show (for multiple reasons).

EDIT - Also, if anyone knows they have DFW followers on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ I would appreciate any help you might be able to give me as far as spreading the word goes. Right now, it's all up to me. I'm doing the best I can, but I'm no marketing expert. Thanks again!

As for marketing ideas ... have you considered printing solicitation fliers and then sauntering over to the North Texas State campus and getting permission to put them in the boxes of professors and grad students in the theater/RTF/whatever-they-got and/or religion/theology/whatever-they-got departments. And on the department bulletin boards so the undergrads can see.

Edited by vjmorton

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In other words, Andrew ... and I'm being totally serious, earlier tone aside ... would you consider it an insult if I bought a ticket to contribute to letting the film go forward but then didn't show (for multiple reasons).

Thanks for the support, Victor. I wouldn't be insulted at all. And the good news for you is that if the event doesn't happen, you aren't out any money.

As for marketing ideas ... have you considered printing solicitation fliers and then sauntering over to the North Texas State campus and getting permission to put them in the boxes of professors and grad students in the theater/RTF/whatever-they-got and/or religion/theology/whatever-they-got departments. And on the department bulletin boards so the undergrads can see.

I was planning on putting some flyers up around UNT later this week. It's spring break right now, though, so not many people would see them just yet and the buildings may not even be open.

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I'm in DFW, and I'd like to get out to the film, though with an especially busy week that week, we'll see. I'll try to encourage some local friends to go as well.

I am glad to hear you're working on setting up screenings. I've noticed several older films screening on mid-week evenings in Dallas over the past few months, and am glad that we're getting more variety in what's showing.

Awesome, thanks John. If you are able to go, be sure to buy your ticket at that link by or before the 28th. One thing Tugg told me to make very clear (and I'm trying my hardest) is that you can't buy tickets at the door--they are only available online, and you have to do it by that deadline, or else the screening is a no-go.

Hope to see you there!

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Andrew,

I'd also recommend talking to some coffee shops/restaurants/local hang-outs near the Uni. and seeing if you can put up signs there too. Maybe talking to local independent cinemas too.

Out of curiosity, why do you have to pre-purchase tickets? I understand why you have to sell a certain amount of tickets for the event to even happen (I'd imagine 50 represents the number of sales they need to break even, or some such number), but why do you have to pre-buy tickets?

That sounds like a flaw in the business model. Can you buy tickets online the day before? The hour before?

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Out of curiosity, why do you have to pre-purchase tickets? I understand why you have to sell a certain amount of tickets for the event to even happen (I'd imagine 50 represents the number of sales they need to break even, or some such number), but why do you have to pre-buy tickets?

That sounds like a flaw in the business model. Can you buy tickets online the day before? The hour before?

I don't think it was really explained to me very well by the folks at Tugg. My guess is that it's for the theater, so that they'll have time to revise their schedule if the screening doesn't sell enough tickets. Otherwise, they'd be stuck with an empty room. How that might be different from any other nearly-empty screening, though, I'm not sure.

Perhaps there's a better way for them to do things, but I don't know what it would be.

And no, you can't buy tickets a day or hour before. It has to be by the 28th. At this point, I'm not confident it's going to happen, as I've only sold three tickets--one for me, one for my wife, and one (I assume) for Victor, who won't be going anyway. Hopefully I'll have more luck once I'm able to put out flyers.

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Yeah, but pre-selling 50 tickets is making sure they're not screening a film to no audience. You should still be able to purchase tickets after the deadline by which you have to sell 50 tickets is left.

I'm assuming the theater the film is showing in isn't super small (and only holds 50 people).

And why you can't purchase tickets at the theater or at least purchase them immediately before the showing (and print out a code that is scanned - fandango style) is beyond me.

I think it's a super cool idea, but they're killing it with shoddy execution.

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Yeah, but pre-selling 50 tickets is making sure they're not screening a film to no audience. You should still be able to purchase tickets after the deadline by which you have to sell 50 tickets is left.

I'm assuming the theater the film is showing in isn't super small (and only holds 50 people).

And why you can't purchase tickets at the theater or at least purchase them immediately before the showing (and print out a code that is scanned - fandango style) is beyond me.

I think it's a super cool idea, but they're killing it with shoddy execution.

It's definitely a system that needs some work, as I'm worried people may just show up on 4/2 expecting to buy tickets for a screening that, unfortunately, probably won't happen.

Edited by andrew_b_welch

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I'd never heard this story before, but it helps explain why Wings of Desire is one of the few Wenders films I don't dislike.

 

I remember that night, probably into the third week of shooting Wings of Desire, when my assistant Claire Dennis [sic] and myself sat in our Berlin production office and had to come to terms with the fact that our film needed an additional character. What was missing was the character of an "ex-angel", somebody who had preceded "Damiel", our angel who had fallen in love, and could therefore tell him, from experience, what it was like to become a human being. ...

Claire and I came to the conclusion, by a chain of what we considered logical thoughts and deductions, that there was only one actor in the whole wide world who could play that part: Peter Falk.

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