Wim Wenders Bungle Bungles (Australia) . The Angel

Bungle Bungles (Australia) . The Angel
Bungle Bungles (Australia) . The Angel Bungle Bungles (Australia) . The Angel

When the Wall fell at the end of the world …

I spent the autumn of 1989 in Australia,

on location survey for my film “Until The End Of The World”.

And that’s exactly where I was in early November: 

at the very end of the world.

You could hardly be further away from Berlin:

You had to fly for 24 hours to Sydney,

then inland for 3 hours to Alice Springs, on a regular jet,

then for another 4 hours on a small plane

to the north coast, to Broome,

and then on a chartered Cessna for 3 three more hours

to a one horse town in the West Australian desert

called “Turkey Creek”.

Then you were really in the middle of nowhere!

From there we drove with a Land Cruiser for 10 hours,

over dirt roads, deep into the Bungle Bungles, 

a former coral reef from an age

when this was still an ocean, umpteen millions of years ago.

We were far away from any civilization…

Every other day someone had to drive back to Turkey Creek

to buy new supplies.

That was in the times prior to mobile or even satellite phones.

No one could reach us there.

But in Turkey Creek there was a fax machine,

in the only general store for hundreds of miles.

I had passed on the number to my office in Berlin.

And then one day the car with the food supply

came back to our camp in the Bungle Bungles,

and had a roll of fax pages for me.

Perhaps you remember those terrible print-outs

on thin thermo paper,

which for the hell of it could not be smoothed down.

And one could certainly not send pictures with that!

Anyway, there was this pitch-black little roll of paper,

and with a lot of imagination you could recognize some shapes there:

People who were dancing on top of the Wall?

Along with that illegible headlines, absolutely undecipherable.

We stared at these black pictures.

What was that supposed to mean?

Had the Wall fallen?

How long ago was that by now?

Was the whole thing just a whim?

Wouldn’t the Russian tanks have marched in already?

What was going on in Berlin?!

So I climbed into the Land Cruiser 

at the break of dawn the next day

and drove right back to Turkey Creek

via endless dirt roads, for hours,

and finally got a line out to Berlin

from the pay phone in the store.

It was deep in the night there,

but I managed to wake up somebody from my office.

The connection was bad, and only that much was to be understood:

the Wall was indeed open,

the Berliners were all out their minds with excitement,

the rest of the world as well,

and there were no used cars nor bananas left

in the whole of West Berlin!

Then the connection got cut off again.

We had a rule out there in the desert

to not drink any liquor,

but that day I broke it and bought a few bottles of wine

and a case of beer, and a lot of ice,

and returned with all that to the camp.

On the way I met an angel by the wayside.

Well, it was just a rather outrageous termite hill,

but I liked that picture so much

that I got out of the car and took a few photographs

of the mighty guardian angel

who was greeting his Berlin colleagues from the middle of Australia …