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Wenders, Wim - The End of Violence



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The End Of Violence Trailer 1997


The End of Violence is a 1997 film by Wenders, entered into the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. The film's cast includes Bill Pullman, Andie MacDowell, Gabriel Byrne, Traci Lind, Rosalind Chao, and Loren Dean, among others. It also features a soundtrack marked with the signature sounds of Wenders regulars Jon Hassell, Ry Cooder, and Bono.

The film covers a number of themes related to the move of American society towards ‘big brother’, as well as loneliness, isolation, lust, and violence.  A scene in the film shows, for example, a live recreation of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. Wenders could see, even in 1997 that the slide was rapid, and the film was a very direct warning of what was to come, perhaps too direct.

Needless to say although the film was praised by a select few critics for its cinematography, it performed poorly in the box office, simply because very few of the paying public at that time wanted a mirror held up to show the massive warts that had already grown over the face of America..

The story centres on movie producer Mike Max.  Mike Max is a Hollywood producer who became powerful and rich thanks to brutal and bloody action films. His ignored wife Paige is close to leaving him. Suddenly Mike is kidnapped by two bandits, but escapes. His kidnap is captured by surveillance cameras and witnessed by computer scientist Ray Bering on surveillance footage scene in his laboratory at the Griffith Observatory.

However, it soon turns out that the two ‘bandits’ have been shot, Max has escaped and now is accused of killing them. He takes shelter with, and goes to work for, the Mexican gardeners who find him and they help him investigate who is trying to kill him and why.

Bering, who recognized Max in the surveillance footage, has a conversation with an intelligence agent who makes it clear that anyone who gets in the way of a new “anti-crime” satellite surveillance program not yet approved by Congress will be dealt with terminally. Detective Dean Brock suspects Max is not a killer and on a tip meets with Bering, who is assassinated by a gunshot as they begin to speak. ……..”

The American dream, surveillance cameras, shooting, violence, fear, separation, loneliness, clandestine plots, power, control, money, sex and no love, alienation – the film covered a host of issues that Wenders felt were strangling society.  The only ‘good guys’ in the whole film were the Mexican gardeners, who helped him.

The problem with showing a film such as this, even with its title End to Violence, -which is a plea, not a description of the film, - is that most Americans are now pretty well numbed to violence.  It is everyday fare – horror movies, horror news, horror newspapers, horror postings now on facebook.  They ‘pass on the other side’, proud of their atheist beliefs.

As far as Wenders is concerned American culture is sliding into chaos – total destruction.  He said at a later date that

“It is the fate of all culture to be forgotten and to disappear. Sometimes it needs an archaeological effort to bring it back to light. I think it's an exciting time to be making movies, to record these changes and sometimes to evoke things that are about to disappear, evoke things we might want to hold on to.”

So to a certain extent he is now acting as a documenter of the death of America as a nation and its culture.

The source of the experience

Wenders, Wim

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps