Der Himmel Ă¼ber Berlin is called Wings of Desire in English, and on the commentary track included with the DVD, the director Wim Wenders says that the English title is the one he prefers.

At the start we observe many Berliners and overhear their thoughts. We share the perspective of the angels, particularly Damiel and Cassiel, as they watch over the city and its inhabitants. Why are they there: to witness, to gather evidence, to testify to the inhabitant’s spiritual existence.

Peter Falk is in Berlin to make a film about the Second World War. Very little happens. Damiel thinks about becoming human, to feel the weight of things, to experience rather than to observe.

It is wonderful to exist as pure spirit and day after day and for eternity, to bear witness to what is solely spiritual in people – but sometimes my eternal spiritual existence becomes too much for me. I then want no longer to hover above, I want to feel a weight within me, abolishing limitlessness and binding me to the earth…

But sometimes I get fed up with my spiritual existence. Instead of forever hovering above I’d like to feel there’s some weight to me. To end my eternity, and bind me to earth. At each step, at each gust of wind, I’d like to be able to say: ‘Now! Now! and Now!’ And no longer say: ‘Since always’ and ‘Forever’…

Finally to “suspect”, instead of forever knowing all.