Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty [1972]

Wenders’ second film and an adaptation by notorious Austrian writer Peter Handke from his own novel of the same name, the mischievously titled The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty provided an early insight into the director’s penchant for exploring urban disillusionment, the ironies of existence and America’s post-WWII cultural influence on Germany. Thematically, the story is bound to hark memories of Camus’ The Outsider in the way it raised pointers on existential crisis and society’s preference for assigning meaning to seemingly random human actions. The film began and ended with shots of a football match, albeit in contrasting fashion. It started off with a golie (Arthur Blauss) displaying ludicrously high disenchantment while the match is in progress; when he inadvertently allows a goal into the net, he argues with the referee and gets sent off. While aimless wandering through the streets of Vienna, he picks up the pretty cashier at a local movie theatre, and then, at a run-down hotel, he inexplicably murders her. Possibly in order to escape the legal consequences of his crime, he retreats to a village where he’s reacquainted with his former fiancée, even though, overtly, he seems rather unconcerned about being caught. The film ended on a memorably ironic note with the loner man, while watching a local football game, explaining to his fellow spectator the psychological tussle that takes place during a penalty kick between the goalkeeper and the one taking the shot – this seemingly non sequitur conversation wonderfully reinforced the film’s central thematic concern. The languorous pacing, dreary tone, distancing technique and a rather lack of plot progression, too, were in congruence with what the film, essentially, was all about.

Director: Wim Wenders
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama
Language: German
Country: Germany

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