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'It's the source of cinema': German filmmaker Wim Wenders honoured at Lyon's Festival Lumière

'It's the source of cinema': German filmmaker Wim Wenders honoured at Lyon's Festival Lumière
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Frédéric Ponsard
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Euronews spoke with decorated German filmmaker Wim Wenders, who received the 15th Prix Lumière at this year's Festival Lumière in Lyon.

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Decorated German filmmaker Wim Wenders was awarded the 15th Prix Lumière at this year's Festival Lumière in Lyon, southeast France. This unique prize pays tribute to the greatest names in cinema.

Following in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood, Ken Loach, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Jane Fonda, and Tim Burton among others, the director of Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas and Buena Vista Social Club was honoured for his contribution to cinema.

The film and documentary maker is also a talented photographer. Wenders has always reflected on the meaning of images, and he told Euronews that winning the Prix Lumière is an apotheosis.

"The symbolism is already in the name, Lumière. It's the source of cinema," Wim Winders told Euronews. "Light is so much the essence of life that this Prize is highly symbolic, and gives me a joy greater than for any other prize I’ve received previously."

Wim Wenders, Filmmaker and Photographer
Wim Wenders, Filmmaker and PhotographerEuronews

After Pina, his documentary on the great German dancer Pina Bausch, Wenders pays tribute to Anselm Kiefer - one of Germany's greatest living artists - in the documentary Anselm, which hits cinemas this autumn. Wenders is a filmmaker without artistic boundaries.

"For me, cinema has never been a national story," he revealed. "I discovered it in Paris, I wanted to be a painter and I discovered cinema and it changed my life.

"I'm a convinced pro-European. It was the greatest emotion of my life to have this idea of a Europe where there will always be peace, and never war again, where we leave nationalism behind us [...] And we've seen what that leads to, so it's a great catastrophe, this loss of memory."

Wim Wenders is a filmmaker without borders. He shot his latest film Perfect Days in Japan. It won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and will be on European screens by the end of the year.

Restoring and revisiting cult classics

The Festival Lumière offers a host of retrospectives and tributes, with a number of guests of Honor this year, including Wes Anderson, Marisa Paredes and Terry Gilliam, the former member of the Monty Python comedy troupe and director of Brazil and 12 Monkeys. The latter was restored in 4K and presented at the Festival Lumière.

Terry Gilliam, Filmmaker, Comedian and Actor
Terry Gilliam, Filmmaker, Comedian and ActorEuronews

"I am sitting on the beginning of cinema, that's what excites me," Terry Gilliam told Euronews. "We haven't improved [cinema] that much better than they [the Lumière brothers] did. They were, right from the start, brilliant."

"I want all my films restored and they've been recently doing quite a bit. And this new version [of 12 Monkeys] is coming out in France so I just thought it's very nice to be involved in drawing attention to it because it’s a film I’m very proud of."

12 Monkeys was restored and screened during the Festival Lumière - providing an opportunity to revisit cult films on the big screen rather than on a smartphone or tablet.

The Lyon Festival Lumière has established itself as one of Europe's must-see festivals. An atypical and popular event that brings together the history of cinema and its great classics, with a film market and the greatest professionals in restoration and heritage - not forgetting the great contemporary films, and a host of avant-premieres from top festivals such as Cannes and Venice. 

All this, of course, is on the big screen in Lyon's cultural venues, often in the presence of prestigious guests.

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