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Second Time Around 

Wednesday, Aug 13 1997
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Until the End of the World
Wim Wenders went decisively out of fashion with this 1991 film, an interesting international road movie that becomes a desert-island meditation about life and dreams and stuff in its prolonged second half. Why did people complain? It's two, two, two movies in one! For well over an hour a bemused William Hurt is pursued around a near-future (1999) globe by an inexplicably cheerful Solveig Dommartin, the curly-headed trapeze artist in Wings of Desire; Wenders proves himself the compleat non-Hitchcockian by making the chase's McGuffin the subject of the film's second half. For all his Yberhipness, as signified here by the altrock score, Wenders is very much in the philosophic tradition of such long-winded Germans as Goethe and Schopenhauer: His films describe at once a protagonist's wanderings In Search of Truth and Beauty even while also promising mighty revelations about the Nature of Art and Consciousness in his incessant making of movies about movies. And that's ultimately what this turns into.

The Red Vic promises a new print of the 158-minute release version; be aware that Wenders has tidied up and wants to show a much-longer new version with all the material that hit the cutting-room floor the first time around. If you haven't seen this in any version by all means give this film a chance. If nothing else it's a preview of Wenders' forthcoming The End of Violence, which has the same balance of virtues and faults.

-- Gregg Rickman

Until the End of the World screens Sunday, Aug. 17, at 2, 5, and 8 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight (at Clayton). Tickets are $6; call 668-3994.

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Gregg Rickman

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