Movies about movie-making tend to be either hilariously vitriolic (The Player) or poignant (Lost In La Mancha): unfortunately, The State Of Things is neither. Wim Wenders’ re-released 1982 film follows the fortunes of maverick German film director Friedrich Munro (Patrick Bauchau), as he travels from Portugal to LA in search of his missing producer, after Munro’s post-apocalyptic B-Movie remake runs out of film.
The fact that the first nine and a half minutes is made up of Munro’s sepia-toned sci-fi nonsense, before the film proper begins, will try the patience of even the most ardent Wenders fan. While it has some memorable scenes, including cameos by legendary B-Movie directors Sam Fuller and Roger Corman, and is beautifully shot in black and white, The State Of Things is Wenders at his most self-indulgent. It’s incredibly slow and seems to be art-house just for the sake of it, filled with pretentious quotes like ‘Stories only exist in stories, whereas life goes by in the course of time without the need to turn out stories’. Wenders’ zany cast of movie types are initially amusing, but none of them are developed with any real depth.
Indeed, the most interesting aspect of The State Of Things is the fact that Wenders -borrowed’ the entire cast and crew, when the film they were shooting, The Territory, started running out of money, while Wenders was on sabbatical in Portugal, having being ousted from Francis Ford Coppola’s studio, mid-shooting, by the man himself: Coppola took over the studio to make his own film, One From The Heart. While film students will doubtless find it fascinating, most of us will waver between bemusement and boredom. Anybody new to Wenders’ work would be better advised with his incredible Wings Of Desire or the more recent Land Of Plenty.
Director: Win Wenders.
Starring: Isabella Weingarten, Rebecca Pauley, Jeffrey Kime, Patrick Bachau, Sam Fuller, Roger Corman.
Running Time: 116 minutes.
Extras: Deleted Scenes
For fans of: Wim Wenders (obviously), student film-making.