Der amerikanische Freund (The American Friend)
Tuesday 8 March, 7pm
Wim Wenders was in some ways the leading figure of the ‘New German Cinema’ of the 1970s, alongside Rainer Werner Fassbinder – at least in the international film marketplace. The 1970s saw Wenders on a run of major films, culminating with Der amerikanische Freund in 1977. Unlike Fassbinder, who kept his films mainly concerned with German subjects, Wenders indicated his passion for American popular culture early on and in the 1980s would explore it with films about American subjects.
This 1977 film shows him reaching a kind of halfway house in adapting and ‘mashing up’ two of the Ripley novels by Ms Highsmith. Highsmith’s work was generally better received in Europe than in the US and most of the adaptations of her work were by European directors. Our Zoom discussion of the film will focus on the meeting of German/French and US culture, the unique Highsmith characters and the creation of a film noir sensibility by Wenders and his collaborators at a time when noir was being evaluated and re-imagined.
The American Friend is screening on Film 4 at 1.10 am on Tues night/Weds morning 15/16 February so it can be recorded. If it doesn’t then appear on All4 it can also be rented on Apple or Amazon Prime.