an angel laughing through tears

Is the concept of progress a cruel illusion? Is progress a storm, getting pushed into the future into which our back is turned?. Do angels work without a script intuitively connected to the screenwriter on high. Angels have represented a alternative reality and whether by choice or calling have been imputed to the role of hope and the belief that were are not completely alone.  In the Wim Wenders movie Wings of Desire, we are faced with angels haunting Berlin; angels of history waiting for us to create the relationships that will at last enable the angels to be liberated from history and be enabled to take wing. Peter Falk is cast as an angelic version of himself and also a dual figure, a former angel who reaches out to help an angel who has decided he wants to be discard that responsibility and to seek liberty after falling in love with a circus artist. The line between the divine and the profane…

Read More: ---He phoned one evening, introduced himself, told a little about the film and explained that he needed a former angel, to which Peter Falk replied after a pause: "How did you know?" When Falk asked whether a script could be sent, Wenders said that he had nothing at all in writing about this ex-angel, not even a single page. If anything, that apparently made the part even more interesting to Falk, who answered: "Ah, I've worked like that before with Cassavetes, and honestly I prefer working without a script."---

A Klee drawing named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. -Walter Benjamin Read More:

Read More: past carries with it a temporal index by which it is referred to redemption. There is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one. Our coming was expected on earth. Like every generation that preceded us, we have been endowed with a weak Messianic power, a power to which the past has a claim. That claim cannot be settled cheaply.... even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he triumphs. And this enemy has not ceased triumphing. Our “secret agreement” with past generations is not just to remember what they went through, but to take what Benjamin calls “a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past.”

Barglow:In the historical project of liberation, Benjamin represents the Angel of History as being on our side – the angel wants to intervene but does not have the power to do so. Do we? Benjamin criticizes the pessimism that regards fundamental change as impossible and that tells us that historically, utopian dreams have been losing propositions. As an antidote to resignation, Benjamin proposes “the gift of fanning the spark of hope [that was] in the past,” as if memory could ignite a kind of prairie fire across the generations. Such memory is identified by Benjamin as “the quintessence of Judaism’s theological concept of history.” Embedded within Jewish tradition is extraordinary hope – Biblical accounts of Exodus and of the Maccabees, for instance, remind us that liberation movements can succeed against seemingly invincible power structures. Read More: aaa aaa

Read More: The inner thoughts which we hear going through Peter Falk's mind in these and other scenes, were recorded in a sound studio in Los Angeles, with Wenders directing over a long-distance telephone line, months after those scenes were shot. Wenders had sent Falk some pages to use for these voice-overs, but they just didn't work. Instead of reading the prepared lines, Falk then said, "Let me close my eyes," after which he invented the material that would eventually be used in the sound track of the film. Almost all of his inner monologue was improvised by Peter Falk, including the memorable lines spoken as he sketches the woman with the yellow star:---Peter Falk (inner voice): I wonder if she's Jewish. What a dear face! Interesting, what a nostril, a dramatic nostril. These people are extras, extra people. Extras are so patient. They just sit. Extras, these humans are extras, extra humans... Yellow star means death. Why did they pick yellow? Sunflowers. Van Gogh killed himself. This drawing stinks. So what? No one sees it. Some day you'll make a good drawing. I hope, I hope, I hope.

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the struggle against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are ‘still’ possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge—unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable.( Walter Benjamin. 1940. ) Read More:

Caravaggio. Saint Francis. 1595.

According to Scholem, the Angel of History shows Benjamin’s understanding of the dialectical relation between the Christian baroque and the Jewish mysticism. The Christian view is that history is a “process of incessant decay.”  The decay is the wreckage, pile of bodies, and general catastrophe that the Angel is not able to turn away from. The opposing view, that of Jewish mysticism, is the belief that according to the kabbalah it is not the angel’s responsibility to make whole the catastrophe of history, it is the Messiah’s responsibility…. For Benjamin, the only way the redemption can come is from the Messiah. Read More: aa aaa

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