The American Friend aka Der amerikanische Freund

I grew up watching The American Friend. I loved it, I loved the slowness, the stillness and the amazing photography. I liked the performances and the studied cinematic direction.

I’m not sure now if I hate the film. The last time I tried to watch it I found it dreadfully slow and dull (maybe I was just in a mood with myself).

Wim Wenders was a big influence on me as a youngster. I loved Paris, Texas (again, another problem film now – apart from its photographic excellence) and I also loved Wings of Desire (again, I find that hard to watch now).

Where did Wim and I go wrong? Well, I actually now think that what I liked about a lot of his films was the cameraman he was using (Robby Muller). And the fact that I was 13 and these seemed like worldly foreign films.

Actually, Wim was just looking at America and American movies through a European eye. Like the new wave did in France back in the 50s and 60s.

This appealed to me back then, and while now it doesn’t really, and I find that the films have become a problem for me to watch.

I’m not saying Wender’s was a bad filmmaker. Nearly all his films are impeccably made. It’s just like some stories you need to be ‘there’ at the time to experience them. When I was younger I felt in-tune to Wender’s vision of the world. Now I don’t. But, I still adore how they look and sound.

Still these films are worth seeing…

Matthew Cooper has written for most of the UK soaps, including writing episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal TV Society nominated as a television writer. He’s been a script consultant and script writer for hire for over 20 years. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew