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Wim Wenders Explains Why He Had to Leave LA

Over the weekend, Zócalo Public Square sponsored a series of “Pacific Standard Time” panel discussions about the ephemeral nature of LA. To the website’s credit, that is also where you will find the very best summary of what went down, complete with extensive photos and archived video.

During one of the discussions, moderated by KCRW’s Warren Olney, Wim Wenders voiced the perspective of a European transplant. He said he made a beeline for Mulholland Drive after first touching down in the city in 1972, but eventually decided that LA could no longer be his lady:

LA became a dream place that “lost all reality when I left.” Wenders felt he couldn’t even talk about his life here because no one would believe it. “The movies that I make [in LA] are about that conflict between the fiction and the reality,” he said…

For Wenders, it was the loss of reality, and too much fantasy, that drove him out of Los Angeles. He eventually returned to Germany because “the image that is the product of the city had too much impact on the city itself,” he said. If fiction is the product of the dreams of LA, then violence has been the byproduct of those dreams. “If the city that produced all these dreams has a future where it’s going to produce only [CGI] nightmares, then I’ve got to get out of here,” he realized.

Others participating in the Zócalo event included LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan, Richard SchickelJohn Singleton and William Friedkin. By the way, Friedkin thinks Blade Runner remains the best film ever made about LA.

[Photo: Helga Esteb/]

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