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Until the End of the World (1991)

Bis ans Ende der Welt (original title)
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2:27 | Trailer
In 1999, Claire's life is forever changed after she survives a car crash. She rescues Sam and starts traveling around the world with him. Writer Eugene follows them and writes their story, as a way of recording dreams is being invented.

Director:

Wim Wenders

Writers:

Peter Carey (screenplay), Wim Wenders (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Solveig Dommartin ... Claire Tourneur
Pietro Falcone Pietro Falcone ... Mario
Enzo Turrin Enzo Turrin ... Arzt
Chick Ortega Chick Ortega ... Chico Rémy
Eddy Mitchell ... Raymond Monnet
William Hurt ... Sam Farber, alias Trevor McPhee
Adelle Lutz ... Makiko
Ernie Dingo ... Burt
Jean-Charles Dumay Jean-Charles Dumay ... Automechaniker
Sam Neill ... Eugene Fitzpatrick
Ernest Berk Ernest Berk ... Anton Farber
Christine Oesterlein Christine Oesterlein ... Irina Farber
Rüdiger Vogler ... Phillip Winter
Diogo Dória Diogo Dória ... Hotelportier
Amália Rodrigues ... Frau in Strassenbahn (as Amalia Rodrigues)
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Storyline

Set in 1999, a woman (Dommartin) has a car accident with some bank robbers, who enlist her help to take the bank money to a drop in Paris. On the way she runs into another fugitive from the law (Hurt), an American who is being chased by the CIA. The charges are false, he claims. They want to confiscate a device his father invented which allows anyone to record their dreams and vision. On the run from both the bank robbers and the CIA, the couple span the globe, ending up in Australia at his father's (von Sydow) research facility, where they hope to play back the recordings Hurt captured for his blind mother. Set in the futuristic year of 1999, a subplot about a damaged Indian nuclear satellite crashing and causing the end of civilization is a puzzling addition to the film. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's 1999. The government will kill for his invention. One woman will do anything for his love. Together they share an adventure that circles the globe - And invades the mind. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sensuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany | France | Australia

Language:

English | French | Italian | Japanese | German

Release Date:

25 December 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Until the End of the World See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,553, 29 December 1991

Gross USA:

$829,625

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$829,625
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) | (1991 European cut) | (2014 Director's Cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo | LC-Concept Digital Sound (France)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Willem Dafoe was originally pursued for the William Hurt part. See more »

Goofs

When Bert is shown as the guitarist in Chico's impromptu band for the first time, he hands the guitar to the green-shirted man on the bridge while the rest of the band keeps playing. But when the scene cuts to a different angle, Bert is still playing the guitar. See more »

Quotes

Claire Tourneur: I am not sharing your room!
Phillip Winter: You expect me to pay for two rooms?
Claire Tourneur: I expect you to pay for mine!
See more »

Alternate Versions

A fourth version, running 287 minutes, premiered on March 7, 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of a Wim Wenders retrospective, with Wenders in attendance. It is a 4K restoration (by Arri Film & TV Services Berlin, supported by the French National Centre for Cinema (CNC)), but is different from the 'trilogy' version mentioned above, in that it is presented in one part (albeit with an intermission 131 minutes in), and with a single opening credit sequence. This is the version released by The Criterion Collection on Blu-Ray and DVD in December 2019, which was also the film's first physical release in the US since 1992. See more »


Soundtracks

Last Night Sleep
Written by M. Mooney, J. Liebezeit, M. Karoli, I. Schmidt
Performed by Can
Courtesy of Spoon Records U.K. Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Seeing The World For The First And Last Time
28 April 2009 | by loganx-2See all my reviews

Wim Wenders over 5 hour globetrecking cyberpunk epic, is intended to be the ultimate road movie. It plays out like a miniseries, about a woman who just separated from her writer boyfriend(played by Sam Niel who serves as narrator), and crashes cars with wounded bank-robbers, they offer to give her some of the money if she will transport the cash the rest of the way to Paris for them. She agrees and uses her money to finance the trip that ensues for the rest of the movie. She immediately after meets William Hurt, a mysterious hitchhiker she becomes fascinated with. He is on the lamb, but from who, and why? After he ditches her and steals a hefty sum she becomes obsessed with finding him.

All the while a rouge Indian nuclear satellite hovers above the Earth, haywire and endangering a possible nuclear Apocalypse if it accidentally detonates. The world is closer to ending than it has ever been, which means its just a story on the news in the background, most people try to ignore.

The first segment, in this three part film, is their chase cross country and continent, "A Dance Around The World", as the book about their lives is latter called.

They begin in Italy, and go on to Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Bejing, Tokyo, San Francisco, and finally the Australlian Outback, our heroin Miriam discovers, that Hurt is wanted for a stolen piece of Government property, a device that records the experience of seeing and translates the information as images. He is recording the most beautiful places in the world, for his blind mother. He is the son of Max Von Sydow, the inventor of the device. Their cat and mouse game becomes a whirlwind romance of constant movement and escape.

By the third segment they reach Sydow's underground lab in Australlia, where they also discover that the device cannot only record seeing for the blind, but can record dreams if left on during sleep. The aboriginals who run the lab with Sydow refuse to work on his dream machine. Slowly but believably the rest of the staff, becomes obsessed with staring into the recordings of their dreams, "It got to the point where they dreamed of their dreams...and fell ever deeper into the black well of Narcissus .".

There are car crashes, planes losing power midlight, and one gorgeous locale after another. Like "Alphaville" and "The Fall" this film is completely indebted to its beautiful sights, that it finds and photographs. At five hours long, you can imagine it meanders a good deal. And it does, but for a film so dedicated to the pure spectacle and profound importance and danger of "seeing things", I didn't mind.

Future content wise, there is a clear opposition between the dual natures of the machine, helping the blind to see the world, and allowing the sightful to intrude upon their private internal world, whose appeal is magnetic and addictive. Tecnhology is a double edged sword, amazing but not without its serious ethical and philosophical dilemmas (which is the more real world the one within or without? etc), this movie doesn't delve into it conversation wise, it's lets everything play out, at five hours it gives you the credit that you can work it out for yourself.

It's really just a beautiful film to watch, that's much sweeter and gentler than most sci-fi, and more fascinating too because it doesn't shove its implications down your throat.

Wim Wenders, got people like The Talking Heads, Can, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, U2, Nick Cave, and many many more, to make original songs for the soundtrack about the new millennium. While many of the songs are very good, most are awkwardly placed as well. No doubt Wenders was really excited about all the music and just wanted to use everything.

Definitely flawed, but a richly excessive and eccentric experiments and time capsule. Despite its hefty run time, I thought Wenders was sensitive, to the changing dynamics of the future world, it's not dystopian and it's not Star Trek/Fifth Element Space Opera either, it occupies, a space, where simple good or bad, are no longer really relevant to discussion.

At one point when everyone assumes the world has ended Sam Niel's character is playing in a small band with several Aboriginal neural scientists, a few french-bank robbers, a British bounty hunter, and some random strays who wandered into the Australian compound fearful of nuclear fallout, and they play a music that sounds like Australlian Blue Grass; Didgeridoo's and pianos, harmonica's, and trumpets, blending together to create something singular and new. He notes to himself, "This entire trip has not been about helping a blind woman to see, or gazing into ourselves. But this adventure, the satellite, the machine, the crash, it all occurred, so we could be here, at this moment, to create this music which would have never otherwise existed, right at the crest of the end of the world".

Few sci-fi films are dedicated to power of music(that the characters play), words(that Sam Neil records for his novel), and images(of coming war, of the beauty of the world, and the contours of our own mind/dream/souls,etc). In Alphaville when the computer asks Lemmy Caution, "What moves the night?", Caution responds, point blank, "Poetry". Wim Wenders updates, upgrades, and extends this concept for the new millennium. Though I cant remember too much of what was said, I'm still humming along days later, with some pretty pictures circulating in my head like post cards from an alternate universe.

It's a bittersweet, love, travelogue, adventure story, for the New Millennium; "Where In The Wolrd Is Carmen San Diego?", as written by William Gibson on a sentimental day.


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