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Title: Image and story in the films of Wim Wenders
Author: Graf, Alexander
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines the characteristic features and the aesthetic of the films of the German director Wim Wenders. The examination focuses on the relationship between image and story central to the composition of Wenders' films as well as his theoretical writings. The thesis concentrates its investigation mainly on the films Alice in den Städten (1974), Tokyo Ga (1983-5), Paris, Texas (1984), Der himmel über Berlin (1987) and Lisbon Story (1994). Wenders' exploration of the relationship between image and story is centred on the concept of the photographic image as the most accurate and reliable record of the appearance of physical reality. Wenders hopes that the ability of the photographic image to reproduce reality in pictorial form can be harnessed by the cinema in order to promote a mode of visual perception that respects the existence of material phenomena. Wenders' approach to story film is dialectical: on the one hand he considers a filmic story as a threat to the integrity of the images because, used to further the construction of the story, images lose their genuine function of asserting the existence of the material phenomena appearing in them. On the other hand, Wenders knows of and respects the deeply humane values of stories and story-telling and the desire for stories among cinema audiences. The most notable of his films are determined by the attempt to find a solution to this dilemma by respecting the coherence a story can bestow on the images, yet reducing its function to that of a framing device. In using stories as frames for the presentation of images Wenders hopes to allow his images to speak, to tell a story that is found within the images of his films, rather than being imposed on the images or existing as a dominant factor of the composition of the films. As can be shown in the chapter of the thesis focusing on Lisbon Story, Wenders makes corresponding assertions relating to film sound at a later stage in his career, considering sound to be a tool equally capable of rendering an accurate "audio" record of physical reality. Similar to his approach to images, Wenders again avoids employing sounds primarily for the construction of a story. As opposed to mainstream cinema where images and sounds exist to tell a story, they both appear in Wenders' films in their own right.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available