UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD (1991)

A warning: today’s entry is a bit more personal and deals with death. My apologies.

(Criterion/YouTube) There are better respected Wim Wenders films than UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD, but it’s long been one of my personal favorites of his. I have yet to see the recent director’s cut — like JUSTICE LEAGUE, like DUNE, folks have been endlessly clamoring for his four-hour edit of this film, which is featured in the new Criterion edition of the film — but the theatrical cut still features all of the hallmarks of quintessential Wenders films, including emotional ennui, distanced communication, and road trips but, atypical for Wenders, it’s contained in a sci-fi neo-noir coating.

It’s one of the first films I recognized as ‘an international affair’, which means that Wenders finagled funding from more than a few countries to realize his vision. It has a lot of people, a lot of odd events, and a lot of languages but, despite all of that, and despite the ramshackle plotting, despite the fact that it takes place in a very prescient future 1999, it’s a very challenging, very soulful and melancholy meditation on technology, humanity, and memories.

Ah, but I’m burying the lede. This movie was one of the first films I bonded over with my college friend Nick. We both loved the high-concept nature of it and, both of us being goths, were enraptured with the soundtrack, especially the contributions from CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION, Nick Cave, and Julee Cruise.

While we grew in parallel as we aged — over the years we shared a lot about esoteric bands, cooking, the cosmos, and computer science — we always had this film as a touchstone. He’s someone I could always reach out to and instantly reconnect with.

He passed away in his sleep on March 3rd. He was one of the nicest, most accepting people I’ve ever known and, if you were his friend, he always had your back. I’m not exaggerating when I say he saved my life at least once — I was a naive college youth and he was a weathered post-grad — and I’m heartbroken that I was unable to return the favor.

I really miss him and just want to hold those memories close.