Rome Film Festival: Wim Wenders on the Merits of Slowing Down

Wim Wenders - P 2012

The Oscar-nominated director believes 3D is a medium for intimate storytelling

German director Wim Wenders was in Rome to promote his latest documentary, Salt of the Earth, co-shot with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado about the latter’s father, renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado.

Wenders had always wanted to meet his favorite photographer, a meeting that eventually led to the gorgeous ensuing documentary about a truly fascinating subject. The film had a hugely successful premiere in Cannes this year, winning the Un Certain Regard special jury prize and being picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. 

One secret of the film’s success, according to Wenders, was his taking his time with the film, spending one and a half years on the editing process alone. Wenders has spent even longer on his upcoming narrative film, Everything Will Be Fine, a 3D family story that takes place over 14 years, starring James Franco, Rachel McAdams and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Franco plays a writer who accidentally causes the death of a child, an event that haunts him over the course of his life.

Read more Berlin to Give Lifetime Achievement Award to Wim Wenders

But the director's decision to spend more time on projects wasn't entirely voluntary. “Fiction is getting more and more complex, and the process of making a movie is so much more time-consuming than when I started out 30 or 40 years ago,” Wenders told The Hollywood Reporter. “When I was a young man, I made a new film every year like clockwork, like only Woody Allen is still doing. And today, a normal fiction film takes four, five, six years.”

Wenders started writing Everything Will Be Fine while working on the Oscar-nominated documentary Pina, his 3D dance film. He overlapped shooting with Salt of the Earth, going back and forth between Canada and Brazil. The new film will need at least six months to complete, which means it may not be ready until next spring, after Wenders receives a lifetime achievement award at the Berlin Film Festival in February. “I don’t know exactly, because as it is a 3D film, the postproduction is slower than normal, and it’s quite complex,” he said.  

“It’s a very intimate story, and my whole idea was to show that you can tell in 3D also something very intimate, because it enhances very much the presence of the actor,” he said. “And even in an intimate story, 3D has its value.”

The director's success with Pina didn’t pave the way for more personal 3D stories as he had predicted. “When we started it, it was right after Pina, and I thought when this movie’s going to come out, there’s going to be lots of intimate 3D movies, but I was wrong.”

Salt of the Earth will play at the Rome Film Festival on Sunday before its Oct. 23 release in Italy.  

Twitter: @Aristonla