PROFESSION: TRAVELLER

PROFESSION: TRAVELLER

Sun, 04/01/2007 - 17:54

An American banknote found in Israel brings German director Wim Wenders to Bulgaria

Wim Wenders (12).jpg
Wim Wenders

Not unlike a religious mystery screenplay, a banknote fallen from somebody's pocket provided the link between world-famous director Wim Wenders and the little-known country of Bulgaria. After the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2000, Stefan Kitanov, director of the international Sofia Film Fest (SFF), was walking with his wife in a small valley by the Holy City. There, under a tree, he found a 20-dollar note. "Lucky me!" Kitanov thought without even suspecting the sort of followup that the invisible scriptwriter had prepared for him. When he stood up, he saw a group of people several yards away. He went towards them and recognised Wenders at their head; the director he had been dreaming of welcoming to Bulgaria for years. He spoke to him, said how highly Bulgarian cinema goers valued him and invited him to become a member of the program council of the SFF. They spent the "magical" note that same evening in the most suitable place for a new friendship, the local pub.

The next year, Wenders helped with the film selection for the Sofia festival and last month he was its special guest. His first visit to Bulgaria was marked with a retrospective of 21 of his movies, including such masterpieces as Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire, and the premiere of the Bulgarian edition of his book A Sense of Place, published by Colibri. The 61-year-old German director, one of the very few who manages to capture things invisible to the common eye, also received the Sofia Municipality lifetime achievement award.

You write in your book that you live "anywhere and nowhere". Is this a metaphor?

No, this is what my life is really like. I am a film director and photographer, so my main profession is a traveller. I came to Sofia as such. But I made a mistake and brought a heavy winter coat. I should have arrived in shorts.

The road is a leitmotif in your movies. Even the name of your production company is Road Movies. How long have you had this burning desire for travel?

As a child, I grew up in a city completely destroyed by the war - Dusseldorf. So, from a very early age, I have always wanted to be somewhere else. Even in my childhood I travelled a lot, by bike or by train, and I had a camera. I think that this mobility is encoded in human genes. Few people feel truly comfortable living a sedate life. I noticed early in my life that when I am on the road I realise my full potential. I am more attentive; I think and write better, my imagination is unleashed. When I'm at home, there are not many new things to stimulate my mind. I feel perfect in a car, on a train, a plane or a boat, or walking. And if I had been born 200 years earlier, I would certainly have become a travelogue writer. In fact, I should have been born in the mid-19th Century, when photographers began going to all parts of the world to take pictures. I am very interested in landscapes, so I could be called a landscape photographer who has decided to expand his artistic expression with a movie camera. I enjoy being in new places and I'd like to get lost, to vanish there. As a traveller, I prefer not to form a preconception about a country, but to keep my eyes and ears open on the spot.

How do you inspire yourself as a director when you want to say something but don't know where to start?

Most colleagues start from the story, no matter whether it's something they've read or heard. For many, the film begins with a certain character. But for me, it begins with the desire to explore a street, a city, a certain place in particular and to find its story which can only be told there and nowhere else.

One of the most important issues for you is how to make the world a better place to live. But isn't it more important to change the people themselves?

All such attempts in history have failed, though we are right now trying to teach people that they have to treat this planet in a different way. That they are behaving irresponsibly for the next generations whose lives will suffer as a consequence. I learned a lot from primitive people like the Aborigines. These nomads have been living in the Australian bush for 30,000 years but are the wisest creatures I've ever met. Their language has no words for war or possession. It was incomprehensible for them that they can own a piece of land. Just the opposite, they felt they were owned by the land they lived in. I think that gradually we should all realise this.

(Questions from other media have also been used)

Issue 7
0 comments

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
5 + 15 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Discover More

Philippe Rouvrais
PHILIPPE ROUVRAIS: HOW TO SUCCEED IN TURBULENT TIMES
2020 is a year that forced almost all businesses of importance to redefine their business model in order to survive and even to grow. The IT outsourcing sector is one of the most interesting cases.

Ilonka Raychinova
ILONKA RAYCHINOVA: TAXES MATTER
Nobody likes paying taxes.

P1422193.jpg
NANCY SCHILLER: PHILANTHROPY IN ACTION
Since her arrival four years ago Nancy Schiller has become a well-known personality through Bulgaria.

 (3)_800x600.jpg
SAFECHARGE: WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
As in any crisis, there is a silver lining in the Covid-19 outbreak. The unexpected situation forced individuals and businesses to quickly adapt to the new environment of balancing between protecting public health and staying active.

marieta-yordanova-megasmart.jpg
MARIETA YORDANOVA: UNLEASHING NATURE'S HEALING POTENTIAL
Creating your own company in a field that is still new on the Bulgarian market asks for boldness, the inevitable leap of faith and the will to overcome obstacles to succeed. Marieta Yordanova knows this well.

Radoslav Nedelchev.jpg
RADOSLAV NEDELCHEV: REINVENTING ADVERTISEMENT
Digital advertisement is everywhere nowadays, but it – and customers' behaviour, is changing so rapidly that even established companies and brands struggle to utilise fully its potential.

Blagovest Kirilov.jpg
UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF SERVICES MANAGEMENT OPTIMIZATION
OutsourceBG Services is a Bulgarian company focused on providing high quality tailored IT, information, management and consulting serv

Dimitrios Chronopoulos and Efi Katopi.jpg
DIMITRIOS CHRONOPOULOS & EFI KATOPI
If there is a single trick to open up people's hearts and minds for Greece and things Greek it is Portokalopita, the deliciously different Greek pastry which combines in almost neoclassical proportions shredded phyllo with orange and cinnamon syrup

georgi lozanov 2.jpg
ON COMMUNISM, ANTI-COMMUNISM AND WHAT COMES AFTER
Among his many interests Communism – and what supersedes it – has had a special place on his rostrum.

Irena Joteva.jpg
IRENA JOTEVA: THE ART OF STAYING RELEVANT IN CHANGING TIMES
New technologies have changed the way we work, entertain ourselves, do shopping. They have also changed the way companies work. New regulations and professions are appearing, entire business sectors are transforming beyond recognition.

irit lillian.jpg
IRIT LILLIAN
I have known Irit Lillian, the outgoing Israeli ambassador, since before she actually came to Bulgaria in her official capacity.

ivo dikov architect.jpg
ARCHITECT IVO DIKOV: BUILDING FUTURE
Architect Ivo Dikov is the embodiment of the rule that youth and success can go together.