tierra de abundancia
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DESCRIPTIONDocumento oficial sobre Land of Plenty (Tierra de abundancia), editado por Axiom Films. En inglés.
Axiom Films presents
Land of Plentya film by Wim WendersOFFICIAL SELECTION IN COMPETITION Venice Film Festival 2004 WINNER OF THE UNESCO AWARD Venice Film Festival 2004 NOMINATED FOR BEST FEMALE LEAD Independent Spirit Awards 2007
Produced by Reverse Angle International In association with InDigEnt, and Emotion Pictures
UK Distribution Axiom Films International nd 2 Floor, 87 Notting Hill Gate London, W11 3JZ Tel: +44 (0) 20 7243 3111 Fax: +44 (0)20 7243 3152 [email protected] www.axiomfilms.co.uk
U.S.A. 2004 123 / colour / 35mm
UK and Ireland Theatrical Release: September 2007 (tbc)
Press: Tom Bell Axiom Films Tel: 020 7243 3111 [email protected]
Using the streets of Downtown Los Angeles as a backdrop, LAND OF PLENTY is a darkly humorous and poignant essay on contemporary America. We see the country from two very different perspectives: through the eyes of a patriotic and troubled Vietnam veteran on one hand, and an idealistic young American woman on the other. A retired Green Beret, Paul is obsessed with protecting the Land of the Free and doing his part in the ongoing War Against Terror. He was shot down in combat near Long Thanh at the age of eighteen, and is now experiencing the increasing psychological effects of dioxin poisoning, the result of being exposed to Agent Pink exfoliate more than thirty years ago. The events of 9/11 retriggered his trauma of war and made the ghosts of his past return. But fear is the last thing Paul could admit to himself. Lana has lived in Africa and Europe for the last ten years and is returning to her home country after a long absence. She intends to go to college, but finds herself quickly involved in a Downtown Mission that is serving the huge homeless community of Americas Hunger Capital. Shes an idealist, still trying to define her place in the world. She finds her Christian faith in striking opposition to positions taken by the present administration. Paul has no friends and has cut all ties with his family. His reclusive existence as a self-declared homeland security officer collapses when Lana enters into it. She is his long forgotten niece; and her uncle the only connection to her mothers family. Paul grudgingly accepts her presence. When they witness the apparently random shooting of a homeless Middle-Eastern man, they decide to investigate this incident together, even if for very different reasons. On this quest for the truth, their different views of the world collide radically. The film is based on the hope that truth is not an altogether lost notion in todays political and social realities. Even in America.
cast & crewLana Michelle Williams Paul John Diehl Hassan Shaun Toub Henry Wendell Pierce Jimmy Richard Edson Sherman Burt Young Officer Elvin Yuri Z. Elvin Charles Jeris Lee Poindexter Dee Dee Rhonda Stubbins White
Directed by Wim Wenders Producers In-Ah Lee Samson Mcke Gary Winick Jake Abraham Executive Producers Peter Schwartzkopff Jonathan Sehring Caroline Kaplan John Sloss Story By Wim Wenders Scott Derrickson Written By Michael Meredith Wim Wenders Director of Photography Franz Lustig Editor Moritz Laube Production Designer Nathan Amondson Costume Designer Alexis Scott Original Score Composed and Produced By Thom & Nackt
interview with Wim WendersLand of Plenty seems to be a movie about the Americans rather than about America. Do you agree with that notion?WW: Yes. The Americans both under the shock of 9/11 and under the subsequent brainwash of their right-wing press and an administration that used the events for their own purposes, as Michael Moores film showed very convincingly. But LAND OF PLENTY is not in any way an antiAmerican film. It is a film that tries to deal with a lot of confusion and pain and paranoia. Most Americans, understandably so, stood behind their country in these troubled times, and only time will tell them how much their patriotism was abused. I still love America a lot, what it stood for and should still stand for. But it was tragic, for a European outsider like myself living there, to watch how all these values were perverted in the process. How the very words Freedom and Liberty and Democracy were inflated and hollowed and finally have become obsolete. Well, almost. The Americans were lead to believe there was a WAR going on, that they were at war. But by definition there cannot be a war between a country and a group of terrorists. To declare war only played into the hands of those terrorists. What better result could they have expected than that the most powerful country in the world would take them so seriously! As a result, The Americans accepted the real wars that followed. History will reveal one day how unacceptable they were.
Can you tell us about the writing process?WW: The movie came about in a matter of days. My film with Sam Shepard (that were finally doing this summer) had to be postponed, for financing reasons, and all of a sudden I had a whole summer at hand, several months in which I could do whatever I wanted. Like making another movie. I have done some of my best work in such a situation: Just go ahead and do it! Tell whats most important to you at that moment. I didnt hesitate (once I had overcome the first disappointment of not being able to do DONT COME KNOCKING yet) and wrote down an outline of a story in 2 weeks. It dealt with everything that concerned me about America at the time. Poverty, paranoia, patriotism. My friend Scott Derrickson helped me with that treatment. It contained the two main characters, Paul and Lana, and the basic outline of their story. Then I needed to find somebody who could actually write it, fast and furious. I found that person in Michael Meredith, whose first film THREE DAYS OF RAIN had impressed me a lot. He had written it himself, based on a handful of Tchechov short stories, and I thought he had written great dialogue for it. Well, it took Michael 4 weeks to write the first draft. In the meantime, Peter Schwartzkopff and I financed the film with our production company Reverse Angle, in coproduction with InDiGent in New York and IFC Films, I cast it and found the locations, and when the script was ready, we were basically ready to shoot. Of course, such freedom comes only with a small budget. You cant expect to make a multi-million dollar movie like this.
Both protagonists are true believers of sorts Paul believes in his country while Lana believes in God. Do you regard these characters as missionaries?WW: Paul more so, he is indeed on a mission. He is a Vietnam veteran, and a self-declared Homeland Security officer. He acts without any orders other than his own, though, and his commitment to his country is indeed of religious dimensions. The 20-year-old Lana on the other hand, with her firm Christian belief, does not act like a missionary at all. In fact, with her background of a childhood in Africa and the last couple of years in Palestine, she sees religion
and politics with a very different perspective. Her best friend Yael is Jewish and together they root for pro-Palestinian issues. Politically, there is a wide gap between Uncle Paul with his right-wing positions and his niece Lana with her liberal upbringing. I wanted the two to clash, but I also wanted them to keep a respect for each other. Lana doesnt try to convince her uncle that hes wrong. She just shows him with her life and her attitude what she stands for. And she does reach Paul this way, more than with any argument.
You once said that the American Dream is still a Dream. Did you mean to say that America failed somehow or did you mean that theres still hope today?WW: I think the American Dream is over. Nobody is dreaming it any more. It was a thing of the 19th century that thanks to the movies lived on to become one of the biggest and most powerful myths of the 20th Century. In the end it was not much more like a nostalgic reminiscence, though. The Clinton era was the last glimpse of it. With Bush, America is more divided than ever, the economic realities are harsh, and since the nightmare of 9/11, the last bubble of the American Dream has burst. America, in the eyes of the entire world, is failing on a big scale. Most Americans dont know that because they rely on their information at home. But once they travel, theyre confronted with a lot of anger and resentment. And they only have to blame their present administration for that. After 9/11 there was a wave of sympathy for America. They literally had the whole world on their side. That was an incredible chance for a new kind of peace and solidarity, even for a new beginning to bridge the ever-growing gap between the rich half of the world and the poor one. It didnt last long. We are all witnesses for how solidly that chance was ruined.
Both characters witnessed two major events that severely damaged the American Dream: the Vietnam War for Paul, 9/11 in Palestinian occupied territories for Lana. To whom do you feel closest?WW: When I was writing the story, I felt much closer to Lana. But in the course of the shoot, Paul got under my skin, and in the end I felt deeply for both of them. But I guess thats just the way I work. I cannot conceive of characters that I dont like and that I wouldnt identify with.
The presence of the American flag which is a strong symbol seems to cut through the film. Why? Did you refer so much to the American flag in order not to relinquish it to Patriotic, jingoistic movements?WW: The American flag is a striking visual signal indeed. And it clearly goes both ways, indicating the best and the worst of America, depending on the context it appears in. At some moment you couldnt open your eyes anywhere in the country without seeing a flag. I was shooting SOUL OF A MAN a couple of years ago, and in the poorest place of the Union, in Mississippi, there was not one car, not one house without a flag. Actually, the poorer the neighborhood, the more patriotic it got. Where America had failed its people the most, it seemed the most revered. That always was difficult to grasp for me. It was shocking to learn in FAHRENHEIT 9/11 how this comes full circle, and how the military is recruited largely from the poorest of the poor. The rich kids and the privileged dont go to war. As much as I have a problem with the Hummers and the Cadillacs and the limousines and the big SUVs carrying their American flags, I respect it where it stands in some crummy front yard, because at least here it is coming from the heart, not from some business interest. I know Im simplifying the issue, but if you drive through Dallas, and the hugest flags wave over every gas station or on the immaculate green lawn of every big corporation, you might feel nauseated, and you cant help
seeing the arrogance of it. But you see it with different eyes if it is a rumpled torn flag waving on a trailer home in an Indian reservation. Or on a WWII cemetery. That flag incorporates the entire dilemma of American history, from being the solid base of defense for freedom and human rights to a cynical empire of business interests that are governed by the right of the strongest. Immediately after 9/11 Id say the American flag was respected all over the world as a symbol of defiance, of a suffering from a horrible injustice and injury, of a hope for a better world. Only a couple of years later, that same flag seems to have lost almost all of its credit.
Where were you on 9/11? How did you react to the event? Did LAND OF PLENTY originate from that dramatic event?WW: Where were you when Kennedy died? Where were you when they landed on the moon? Where were you when John Lennon died? The real question is always the same: What did you do at such a historic moment? At the end of an era? The question that everybody tried to answer, in every talk show on this planet - where they were and what they did on 9/11 - only reflects the gigantic proportion of these events. It didnt matter where everybody was. What mattered was: History changed, and people tried to define their lives in relation to that. Our thinking is not the same after 9/11. I mumbled life will not be the same anymore when the towers collapsed, not knowing why I said that. It just came out of my mouth. And indeed, my entire thinking and my vision of the world and my role in it changed. And so did everybody elses. It seemed inevitable that films and music and painting and theatre and literature would have to deal with these new facts. I had nightmares for weeks and months after September 11. This had to find an outlet, and when I made this film, very spontaneously and from the guts, the world after 9/11 became its subtext.
The construction of the film echoes that of PARIS, TEXAS. Whereas PARIS, TEXAS began as a road-movie and then came to a halt, LAND OF PLENTY begins in Los Angeles and then evolves into a road-movie in the last part of the film.WW: Apart from the last chapters of LAND OF PLENTY, you cant really compare these films. But when Paul and Lana get in the van and drive from Los Angeles to Trona in the Mojave desert and subsequently across the United States to New York, the film becomes a road movie, indeed, and as such might evoke PARIS, TEXAS. I cant hide, I guess, that shooting on the road is something I really take pleasure in.
You picked a young director of photography, Franz Lustig, who had only shot commercials and videos so far. Why? Can you tell us about the lighting and the particular choice of colors you made with the DP?WW: I had worked with Franz on a couple of music videos and commercials, so I knew he was highly gifted, as a lighting cameraman as well as an operator. We shot LAND OF PLENTY entirely hand-held, which I wouldnt have dared with anybody else. Franz just has a miraculous touch. Due to our budget restrictions, the film was shot on DV, but on a new generation of cameras that shoot full frames. We used a Panasonic and shot in the 25p mode. The gain of quality that progressive scan brought, allowed us to blow up the digital master to Cinemascope, and the result was astonishing. When we saw the first tests, nobody believed they came from these tiny DV cameras. Of course the quality of the image still depends a lot on the lighting. We rarely shot with available light only, and even in daylight situations Franz used a lot of reflectors. Some of our interior sets or night shots were lit as elaborately as you would do for a regular 35mm feature. Still, the DV cameras and the hand-held style allowed us to proceed so much faster. In
our whirlwind 16-day shooting schedule we shot an average of 42 set-ups a day, the record being a 65 set-up day. Those were real set-ups, not just lens changes. But the full potential of a digital shoot lies really in the color correction and the amount of work you can get done on your image, its contrast, its density, its colors etc in post. Franz and I spent ten days color-timing our master, with the invaluable help of Peter Deinas who had already worked with me on the remastering of all my older films.
How did you pick the two main actors? Why did you choose one of Dawsons Creek main actresses?WW: I had met Michelle Williams in the process of casting DONT COME KNOCKING. She came in one day to read for Sky. I had never heard of her, and I had never watched Dawsons Creek. But Michelle impressed me a lot, and I was sort of disappointed that she was really too young for the part in that film. Shortly afterwards, the financing fell apart and we had to postpone DCK. When I wrote the outline for what was going to become LAND OF PLENTY, I did it with Michelle in mind. So the part of Lana was made to measure, so to speak. With Paul, it was more complicated. When I wrote him as a Vietnam veteran, I had no particular actor in mind, and only when Michael Meredith made him much more concrete in the script (drawing a lot on his own uncle) I got a feeling for the part. And thats when I remembered John Diehl, who had played a supporting role in END OF VIOLENCE. We had remained in touch, and I had always wanted to do something else with him. And very quickly John filled that part so well that it felt like nobody else could have done it.
The theme of communication is central to the film : communication is always established vicariously, either through letters, phone calls (pay phones or cell phones), walkie-talkies, snapshots, e-mailsWW: It is a central theme of our everyday life. And we have gotten accustomed to using all these tools. Not that we communicate better than before, just differently and somehow more so. Lana just arrives in America, after living in Palestine, so she needs to communicate with her best friend who remained over there. And there are all these new impressions she has to deal with when she encounters her home country from scratch. Paul on the other hand is in the business of surveying. He observes and watches a lot and subsequently has to do a lot of recording and archiving to do. In a way, they both record America, but from very different angles.
Angst and alienation in America used to be the original title. Why did you change it to Land of plenty?WW: I never intended ANGST AND ALIENATION IN AMERICA to be the real title of the film. It would have scared everybody away. But it was a fun working title. When youre shooting, youre all the time asked for the title of the movie, by bystanders, policemen, officials, service companies etc. And when you say: Were working on angst and alienation in America, I can assure you: You get some great reactions. Anyway, I needed a working title quickly, and couldnt come up with one, and then I remembered that in the beginning, when my first films were reviewed in the US, American critics across the board agreed that this German fellow made movies about angst, alienation and America. At the time, I had jokingly called them my Triple-Amovies. So now I thought I could, for once, use the critics inspiration and named this film project respectively. The company that we formed to produce LAND OF PLENTY was in fact
called Triple-A-Productions. The drawback was only that we always got these calls from people who had car trouble. (AAA is the American Automobile Association.)
Its obviously your film that makes the strongest political statement. To what extent is your film political?WW: I think it is highly political. Not in such an explicit way, like Michael Moores FAHRENHEIT 911, lets say. But it examines the same territory of dishonesty, of deceit, of mislead patriotism, of misinformation, of manipulation. It is a fictional story, of course, not a documentary. So it relies on a story and on characters, more than on facts. But in the end, when the truth of these characters leads them to a moment of political recognition, I hope the emotional impact is as high as any recognition of truth can be, and therefore the need for change obvious. And THAT is the most political thing a film can do: Keeping alive the idea of change, provoking the necessity of change.
Although Paul is a strongly disturbed, paranoid character, theres compassion for the character on your part.WW: Oh yes. You cannot despise such a broken and abused character for what he has become, or for what the system, so to speak, has made of him. Look at his life! Look at his sacrifices! You can only respect his honest and well-meant efforts, hoping that he still has it in him to realize that he has been betrayed and that he has therefore made some wrong choices.
How difficult is it to be a man of faith in todays world?WW: It has never been easy. In the psalms, King David already complained about it, and I quote (at length, for the sheer pleasure) from the translation by Eugene H. Peterson, called The Message:
No doubt about it! God is good good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way; looking up to the people At the top, envying the wicked who have it made, Who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world. Pretentious with arrogance, they wear the latest fashions in violence, Pampered and overfed, decked out in silk bows of silliness. They jeer, using words to kill; they bully their way with words. Theyre full of hot air, loudmouths disturbing the peace. People actually listen to them can you believe it?
Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words. Whats going on here? Is God out to lunch? Nobodys tending the store. The wicked get by with everything; they have it made, piling up riches. Ive been stupid to play by the rules; what has it gotten me? ... (Well, its worth it to read on)What I find particularly difficult today is to make people understand and differentiate between positions of faith versus those of fundamentalism. Lately, Religion has been discredited heavily by extremist positions, in the Islamic, the Jewish and in the Christian world. You come to Israel and Palestine and you understand that the real conflicts are between fundamentalist Jews and liberal Israelis, between Islamic hardliners and liberal Palestinians, not between Israelis and Palestinians as such. They would and could live peacefully with each other, if the fundamentalists in their own midst would only let them. You talk to Christian fundamentalists in America and you realize they stand for truly medieval positions. They are pro-war, of course. They are into white supremacy. They love their guns. They defend the death penalty. And so on. As a Christian who defines his faith first of all through active love and tolerance (and Christ taught nothing else) you just have to turn in horror for such perversion. You all of a sudden understand how Martin Luther must have felt facing the corrupt and rotten Roman church of his time
Lets talk about the score. Leonard Cohen is central to the film score. Why did you pick Cohen? Is it because hes a highly spiritual figure? How much do you relate to his work? The last title we hear over the end credits is called The Letters. Is it an original song?WW: I was listening a lot to Cohens TEN NEW SONGS last year. Its a brilliant album, sharp and accurate and utterly contemporary, yet not polemical. And not cynical at all. That alone has become such a rare quality! My favorite song was Land of Plenty, and I played it a lot when I was driving to the shoot or returning home. Until it hit me that it was the perfect title for the film I was doing, indeed the perfect title song. I had never met Leonard, but friends helped me to get together with him. He turned out to be the most gentle person on this planet. He read my script and then he was not opposed to the idea of letting me use his song. And later on, when I already had a rough cut, he played me some new songs he was working on, among them The Letters. He couldnt have written it more fittingly for the ending of my film. It will be on his next album. And it is playing over our end credits.
The shooting schedule was incredibly short, how did you achieve making the film in this timeframe?WW: Our entire shooting schedule consisted of 16 days. Plus the road trip in the van across America, which we did with a mini-team of 5 people, me included. That took another week. But 16 days to make an entire movie is nothing. A short three weeks! Thats like a warm-up period for other movies. It meant we always had to finish scenes in one day, and we could never come back to a scene and embellish it or add anything. It meant 2 or 3 takes as an average, short rehearsal periods and quick decisions. We shot an average of 42 set-ups a day, more than on most TV shows. On film, this would have been impossible. The digital technology and the DV cameras we were using really made this movie possible. Franz did 90% of the shots hand-held. Still, he was
lighting most of the time like for a regular film shoot. Even for daylight exteriors we used lights and reflectors. The key to all that was a tireless crew. We worked an average of 14 to 16 hours a day. But never any complaints. On the contrary, I have rarely done an entire film with such a good-spirited and inspired crew. Our InDigEnt production model was probably a reason for that. Everybody on the set got paid the same 100,- Dollars a day, and everybody has a piece of the gross profit of the film. 40% of the films revenue go to cast and crew, right off the start, from the first income. So everybody was a co-producer, so to speak.
How did your collaboration with Thom come about for the score? In what way did his music help to create an atmosphere/move the story along?WW: I happened to hear Thoms first album, Gods and monsters while I was editing. Actually, a friend urged me to listen to it. I was blown away by all aspects of it, Thoms vocals, the quality of the lyrics, the arrangements. I was looking for a composer, or a band who would put their mark on the film. Thom seemed just like God-sent. THAT was the kind of music I had in mind. Contemporary, melodic, innovative, without being too imposing. Their was a touch of Radiohead in Thoms voice, but there were also reminiscences of the Beatles and the Sixties. Altogether very complex and moody. And then I met Thom, together with PC, his collaborator and musical cogenius, and the two of them were in no way intimidated by the prospect of writing and recording our score in a couple of weeks. I went to their recording sessions every night, and slowly saw and heard the score emerge. Im very happy with it now. Its very coherent and fits the film like a glove. Plus we did use some of Thoms songs from his album. Thoms voice appears almost like a Greek choir every now and then, with the lyrics strangely commenting on the action, without ever being too much on the nose or stating the obvious.
What advantages does shooting digitally bring during the shoot? Less gear/ephemera? More concentration on the characters/actors etc.? Are there any disadvantages?WW: With the hand-held digital cameras we were indeed always in the middle of the action, sometimes very close to the actors. But without the intimidating equipment overload that comes with most film shoots. In intimate scenes, for instance when Lana wakes up at night and prays, there were just Franz and myself in the room with the actress. You can feel that in her performance. As a director, you can really concentrate on the actors face and the voice, the image is somehow of less importance than in a film shoot. Here its all about immediacy and realism and truth. Aesthetic considerations are still there, but they are clearly less important. Its totally performance-driven. And the actors have more freedom. They can easily start over and interrupt in the middle of the scene: Oh, let me do that again! and here you go, without a new slate. You can easily shoot the rehearsals, too. Focus pulling is less of a hassle, as the focal range and depth of focus are less critical with these cameras than with 35mm equipment. So actors dont have to be all that weary about hitting their marks perfectly. Franz with his handheld camera could easily compensate for that. The disadvantages? Well, on screen you have less definition and less beauty than if you had shot on film. But considering that this adventure would never have materialized if we had contemplated doing it on film, there is no complaint. When we blew up our digital master to Cinemascope for the first time, we thought the look was absolutely mind-blowing. There was a lot of production value on the screen, except that we only paid a fraction of what it would have normally cost, and that we never had to make any compromise in terms of what the film was ABOUT. In this low-budget production, our CONTENT was the paramount issue. The film says everything it meant to say. With big budgets and all the means in the world, that is rarely the case.
Would you comment on your apparent fascination with the American landscape....is it a character in the film (cf Paris, Texas etc.)? What was the reason for returning to the Million Dollar Hotel area of LA? What is Trona standing for in your inner landscape as a filmmaker? (Apart from using it also for 10 Minutes Older?WW: The body of the film takes place in Downtown Los Angeles. I had discovered the area during the shooting of MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL, yes, but in that film we really moved strictly in the parameters of one street block. The hunger capital of America remained very much in the background. I felt at the time that I would have liked to give it more importance, but our story didnt allow for that. Since then, things have not gotten better down there, on the contrary. The area is still a giant disaster zone, largely, and the proximity of total luxury and utter deprivation very shocking. This time, we could give the description of Downtown LA much more space, with our main location, the fictional Bread of Life Mission right in the middle of it. We dressed that old fire station ourselves, which was by far our biggest production effort. ( For HAMMETT I had shot in there already, 25 years ago, and it had then been the set of a Chinese gambling hall) This is as American a cityscape as they come, a true melting pot, with all styles of buildings mixed with each other, and people of all races doing business there. The Garment District, the Toy District, the Fashion District and the Art District flow seamlessly into each other. And all over, in the middle of it, the population of homeless people that take over the streets at night. For a young person, like Lana, to return to her home country from spending the last ten years in Africa, this place was quite a shock. The least she expected to return to when she arrived in LA was another third World place, so to speak. TRONA in the Mojave desert was a stark contrast to that. I had discovered that little industrial city when I was looking for locations for TEN MINUTES OLDER. Again, I felt I hadnt been able to give it the space it would have needed. In that short section (my film, like everybody elses was just ten minutes long) I could only show a tiny piece of Trona in the opening sequence, afterwards the film continued in the desert. In LAND OF PLENTY, Trona has a huge importance in the story. For Paul, it is the obvious sleeper hideout for terrorist cells, while it turns out to just be a little town in deep depression. The common theme for both places was poverty, that unknown category when you think of America, the richest nation in the world. Poverty is the real subtext of the film, even if we didnt make it the explicit subject of our interest. And then, finally, there was this trip across the United States in the van, only the tiny last chapter of the film, just 5 minutes long, but with the opportunity to condense the American landscape into the length of one song, Leonard Cohens magnificent LAND OF PLENTY, our title song. The three places of the film, Downtown LA, Trona, the open road, really complement each other and together form a sort of other America, a less-known one, for sure, but representing a poignant reality of deprivation, socially as well as culturally, that stands in stark contrast to the image of the military superpower with its exhilarating expenses made abroad, resources that are badly missing at home.
Religion & Politics - References are made to the West Bank, the Christian mission takes in all comers, including Muslims. Despite the occasional sermon, neither religion or politics are overtly discussed but are very present in the film. Would you expand on the point you are making?WW: I wanted to make a contemporary film inside America, and let it touch on all the subjects that concerned me, as a European living and working in America, and certainly as somebody who never concealed how much affection I had for this country, and the ideas it represented. I chose not to make a documentary, although that appeared as an option for a moment. I felt I
could handle my concerns better in a fictional story, and I could express my mixed feelings better via two very opposed characters. Telling a story meant refraining from all overt political or religious statements. Im not good at polemics. I rather preferred to have all the topics that the film touches appear in the emotional context in which my two heroes experience and live them. So dont expect any explicit message from my film, but be assured that itll make his point of view very clear. For instance on the issue of religion. With a government representing very openly Christian positions, mixing religious and political matters across the board, instead of separating them as cleanly as possible, like we do in Europe, it was important to me to put the most simple Christian values into a perspective, opposing them to the fundamentalist ideas that govern the present administration.
Did you use real homeless people/a real mission?WW: We visited most of the homeless missions downtown, realizing they all were on their own busy agenda, all hopelessly overcrowded. Shooting a film there would have handicapped their work. So we had to create our own mission, and be able to shoot there without disturbing work that was existential for many people. We did employ a lot of locals, of course, and tried to be as respectful as possible to the homeless population in the areas we shot it.
biographiesWIM WENDERS Wim Wenders was born on 14th August 1945 in Dsseldorf. In 1964/65 studies in medicine and philosophy. In 1966/67 domicile in Paris. From 1967 to 1970 he attended the Academy of Film and Television in Munich. From 1968 to 1972 he worked as a film critic for "Filmkritik" and "Sddeutsche Zeitung". In 1971 he was one of the founding members of Filmverlag der Autoren. In 1975 he founded the production company Road Movies. In 1984 he became a member of the Akademie der Knste in Berlin and in 1989 a doctor h.c. of the Sorbonne University in Paris. In 1991 he received the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Award in Bielefeld. From 1991 to 1996 he was the appointed Chairman of the European Film Academy. Since 1993 he has been teaching as an honorary professor at the HFF (Academy of Film and Television) in Munich. In 1995 Doctor h.c. of the theological faculty of the University Freiburg Switzerland. In 1996 he was elected President of the European Film Academy.
Filmography: 2004 2003 2002 2000 1998 1997 1996 Land of Plenty The Blues Series: The Soul of a Man Ode to Cologne The Million Dollar Hotel The Buena Vista Social Club (Nominated for Academy Award) The End of Violence Die Gebrder Skladanowsky (with students of HFF Munich) Les Lumire de Berlin Par del les Nuages (with Michelangelo Antonioni)
A Trick of the Light
Beyond the Clouds Jenseits der Wolken Lisbonne Story
In weiter ferne, so nah! Si Loin, Si Proche! Bis ans Ende der welt
Faraway, so Close!
Jusquau Bout du Monde Aufzeichnungen zu Kleidern und Stdten Carnet de Notes sur Vtements et Villes Der Himmel ber Berlin
Until the End of the World
Notebook on Cities and Clothes
1985 1984 1982
Tokyo-Ga Paris, Texas Der Stand der Dinge
Wings of Desire Les Ailes du Dsir
The State of ThingsLEtat des Choses
1982 1980 1977
Hammett Nicks Film Lighting over Water Der Amerikanische Freund LAmi Amricain Im Laufe der Zeit Kings of the Road Falsche Bewegung
The American Friend
Au Fil du Temps
Alice in den Stdten
Wrong Move Faux Mouvement
Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe
Alice in the Cities Alice dans les Villes Scarlet Letter La Lettre Ecarlate
Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter
Summer in the City (dedicated to the Kinks)
The Goalkeepers Fear of the Penalty Kick LAngoisse du Gardien de But
MICHELLE WILLIAMS (LANA) Michelle Williams was most recently seen in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and received widespread critical acclaim for her role as Alma, Heath Ledgers long suffering wife. She was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and an Academy Award for her performance. She starred in Miramax Films' THE STATION AGENT which won the Audience Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Williams also received rave reviews for her starring role opposite Anna Friel in Sandra Goldbacher's ME WITHOUT YOU, the story of two best friends growing up in the outskirts of London in the 1970s and '80s. Selected filmography: 2006 The Hottest State The Hawk Is Dying 2005 Brokeback Mountain The Baxter 2004 Land of Plenty Imaginary Heroes A Hole in One 2003 The Station Agent The United States of Leland (2003) 2001 Me Without You Prozac Nation 1998 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 1997 A Thousand Acres 1995 Timemaster Species
JOHN DIEHL (PAUL) John Diehl grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. At 19 years of age, John went to New York City to stay and have adventures. He was 28 before he thought of being an actor. Mr. Diehl lived in NYC for 7 years before moving to Los Angeles. Selected Filmography: 2006 2005 2004 2001 2000 1999 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1990 1987 1981 The Far Side of Jericho Down in the Valley Land of Plenty Jurassic Park III Pearl Harbour Lost Souls Anywhere But Here Con Air The End of Violence A Time to Kill Nixon Stargate The Client Gettysburg Falling Down Mikey Mo' Money The Dark Side of the Moon Walker The Hanoi Hilton Stripes Escape from New York
RICHARD EDSON (JIMMY) Richard Edsons first feature film role came in Jim Jarmuschs 1983 cult hit Stranger Than Paradise. Edson followed Paradise with roles in such other cult hits as Desperately Seeking Susan and Ferris Buellers Day Off. In 1986, Edson starred in Oliver Stones Platoon which went on to take the Academy Award for Best Picture. The following year he appeared in Barry Levinsons Good Morning, Vietnam which earned an Academy Award Nomination for Robin Williams; and in 1989 Edson starred in Spike Lees Do the Right Thing which launched Lees career and earned him a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. To date, Edson has appeared in over 45 feature films and has worked with many of Hollywoods greatest directors. In addition to his film success, Edson has had a fascinating career in music. He was the original drummer in the New York post-punk band, Sonic Youth. Edson spent three years as drummer for the rhythmic dance band, Konk. It was his involvement in Konk and the New York art scene that caught Jarmuschs eye and lead to his being cast in Paradise.
Edson currently lives in Los Angeles, where in addition to acting he is very active in music, writing and photography. Selected filmography: 2007 The Astronaut Farmer 2006 Hard Scrambled Cut Off 2005 The Kid & I Welcome to California 2004 Goodnight, Joseph Parker Frankenfish Land of Plenty Starsky & Hutch 2002 Sunshine State 2001 P.O.V - Point of View Southlander I Am Josh Polonski's Brother 2000 Jack of Hearts Picking Up the Pieces The Million Dollar Hotel 1997 Double Tap 1995 Strange Days 1989 The Chair Let It Ride Do the Right Thing 1987 Good Morning, Vietnam Walker 1986 Platoon Ferris Bueller's Day Off 1985 Desperately Seeking Susan 1984 Stranger Than Paradise
WENDELL PIERCE (HENRY) Wendell Pierce is recognised by film audiences for his extensive work for such directors as Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Sidney Lumet and Paul Schrader, among others. Selected filmography: 2006 Stay Alive 2004 Ray Land of Plenty Mitchellville A Hole in One 2002 Brown Sugar 1998 Bulworth 1996 Sleepers Get on the Bus
1994 1993 1992 1991 1990
Waiting to Exhale Hackers Bye Bye Love It Could Happen to You Manhattan Murder Mystery Malcolm X A Rage in Harlem A Matter of Degrees
the musicThe Last Good Year Written by Thomas Hanreich Performed by Thom Courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH & Co. KG by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing The Beautiful Occupation Written by Francis Healy Performed by Travis Courtesy of Epic Records and Independiente Ltd. and SINE, a division of Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd. By Arrangement With Sony Music Licensing The Star Spangled Banner Music by John Stafford Smith Performed by Hub Moore Courtesy of Hub Moore The Sound of My Life Written by Thomas Hanreich and Patrick Christensen Performed by Thom Courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH & Co. KG by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing Expensive Being Poor Written by TV Smith Performed by TV Smith Courtesy of JKP GmbH & Co. KG This Is Not Berlin Written by Thomas Hanreich Performed by Thom Courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment (Germany) GmbH & Co. KG by Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
Seven Written by Gogo Engst, Shorty Kurths, Kayki Degner Oliver Benn Joseph, Yensin Jahn, Kerston Ginsberg Performed by Mamasweed Courtesy of Mamasweed Stand Up Written by Andreas von Holst and Andreas Frege Performed by Die Toten Hosen Courtesy of JKP GmbH & Co. KG Looking For Water Written by David Bowie Performed by David Bowie Courtesy of Columbia Records By Arrangement With Sony Music Licensing The Priest Written by Alison Galea, Ian Schranz and Mark Sansone Performed by Beangrowers Courtesy of Beangrowers The Land Of Plenty Written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson Performed by Leonard Cohen Courtesy of Colombia Records And Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc. By Arrangement With Sony Music Licensing The Letters Written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson Performed by Leonard Cohen Courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc. by Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
offers a thoughtful look at a post-9/11 United States from one of its most caring longtime observers, an artist whose vision of America can record terrible socioeconomic inequity, ignorance and paranoia yet somehow remain warm and embracing worthy and unmistakably the effort of an enduringly distinctive and important filmmaker. LOS ANGELES TIMES
Wenders has crafted a thoughtful exploration of the impact of that infamous day [9/11]powerful Wenders' eye for locations and richly evocative work by director of photography Franz Lustig combine to give the film a powerful sensory impact. The music score and tracks featuring Leonard Cohen add greatly to the piece. Ray Bennett, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Diehl gives a wry, cunning performance, allowing glimmers of Paul's intelligence and decency to shine through even in his moments of high self-delusion. NEW YORK TIMES
Land of Plenty is easily Wenders most vital work in more than a decade. L.A.WEEKLY