Submersion: Wenders’ Point of View on Contemporary Problems

After many directors like Kathryn Bigelow, Michael Bay or even Steven Spielberg explore the difficult and treacherous paths of the contemporary world, it is now Wim Wenders’ turn to do the same. Always using their own cinematic language that gives unity to the works of the filmmaker and make them a subgenre of the independent film (yes, due to the film festivals that influence independent cinema, this has become a genre that is as specific as the genres of comedy or horror).

German director Wim Wenders was popularized for his documentaries (one of them about the famous and prestigious Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado) and for his allegorical and metaphorical films like The Wings of Desire, 1987, a work that was reinterpreted in Hollywood with the Long City of the Angels in 1998, by director Brad Silberling and with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan in the lead roles.

Like Win Wenders’ past productions, Submersion has a slow and reflective rhythm, with scenes that do not seem to develop the plot for certain or predictable paths and are often metaphorical – not to say abstract. However, possibly due to the cheap film equipment and the famous cast, Submersion has a look that resembles Hollywood movies. Even so, Wender’s style is undeniable.

The book tells the story of James (played by James McAvoy), a British intelligence agent belonging to the MI6, and Danielle (played by Alicia Vikander), a bio-mathematician (a profession that uses mathematics to study biological organisms) that will explore life in the depths of the oceans. Clearly, the choices of such professions for the characters put them in different trajectories, but equally dangerous. Yet the passion and love between so many different characters leaves the situation even more difficult (well, perhaps no more complicated than the relationship between angels and humans in The Wings of Desire).

The two are submerged in trouble. While Daniella is in the darkness of the oceans, James is imprisoned. In two such separate places, what the characters want is to reunite and relive the moments shown at the beginning of the plot. This, along with the film’s visuals that feature the romance between the main characters, the ocean and the prison, give the filmmaker the elements he needs to create the poetics so characteristic of his works. Here we find, however, a more restrained Wim Wenders, which is limited to larger themes such as the origin of life, love, and the lack of natural resources.

For those who admire the work of the filmmaker, this film will have a high degree of familiarity and may bring tears. But for the general public, it is possible that during the course of the film, Wim Wenders’ poetry seems not to fit very well with the problems of the contemporary world, giving an air of naiveté to the slow and languid scenes. Such a feature may now make part of this subgenre of independent cinema.

(article translated from the original version in portuguese, by Google Translate)

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