Previously, Wenders had worked with a string of novelists, including Peter Handke on The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty (1972), Sam Shepard for Paris, Texas (1984), and Handke again for Wings of Desire (1987). Wenders overreached himself in 1991, however, collaborating with Aussie Booker Prize-winning author Peter Carey on Until the End of the World (pictured).
Carey and Wenders' 151-minute, globe-trotting folly is set in a hypothetical 1999 that's way ahead of 2010 in terms of silly hats and clunky telecommunications. The director was closest in imagining a future accompanied by a perpetual soundtrack - the film's features Talking Heads, Neneh Cherry, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Peter Gabriel and, lethally, U2. (Wenders pursued his musical fascinations in 1999 to Cuba and the Buena Vista Social Club.)
While Western filmmakers (Hal Hartley, Sofia Coppola and Gaspar Noé spring to mind) seem to go mad when they tackle Tokyo - one of 15 city stops for stars Solveig Dommartin, William Hurt and Sam Neill - Wenders is more like director Peter Greenaway and musician Thomas Dolby, seduced by the ideas and possibilities of new technologies. Next year, Wenders releases Pina, a groundbreaking documentary about German choreographer Pina Bausch, which combines cinema's format of the moment - 3D - with one of its subjects du jour, dance (La danse, Black Swan…). Here's hoping he's back on form.