Lisbon Story – DVD Review

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Studio Canal and Lionsgate present Lisbon Story. 104 minutes. Written by Wim Wenders. Rated PG for some language and brief smoking. Originally released in 1995.

Directed By:

Wim Wenders


Rüdiger Vogler……….Phillip Winter
Patrick Bauchau……….Friedrich Monroe

The Film:

Wim Wenders is an amazing and acclaimed German filmmaker who has spent over 30 years mastering his craft in over 20 films with near as many documentaries as narrative films. He is most famous for Buena Vista Social Club and his love letter to Berlin, Wings of Desire. Here we have Lisbon Story, his 1995 film that is a love letter of a different kind.

Lisbon Story stars Rüdiger Vogler as Phillip Winter who Wenders fans will remember from two previous films, Faraway, So Close! and Until The End Of The World. Winter receives a mysterious post card from his friend Friedrich Monroe (Patrick Bauchau) who is working on a film in Lisbon. He wants Winter to come to Lisbon at once with his sound recording gear and help him finish the film. Due to a broken leg it takes Winter some time to get there and when he arrives Friedrich is nowhere to be found. Instead Winter finds several cans of silent footage so he starts recording sounds for them until he can figure out what’s become of his friend. In the end it becomes less about finding his friend and more about helping his friend find himself.

Lisbon Story is first and for most Wender’s love letter to cinema, and the sound of cinema, but it is also a love letter to the city of Lisbon. As Winter wanders the streets of the beautiful city we get to see and hear it in beautifully unique way that is the apotheosis of Wender’s style. At times the film feels like a mystery as Winter searches for his friend, but it is more about the sounds and the city than the mystery.

Though in story there is no similarity, Lisbon Story at times looks and feels like Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The Bernard Herrmannesque violin score helps greatly with this familiarity. This obvious homage only adds another level to Wender’s love of his craft. It is a slow moving film with very little in the way of plot. Wender’s is not in a hurry to take us anywhere in particular and lingers on moments allowing us to absorb them and appreciate them.

This is most certainly not a film for everyone. Wender’s made this film for people who love cinema and the art of cinema, not just to simply entertain, although it does that too. If you can appreciate the sounds and images that Wender’s gives us here then you are in for a sensory treat.

The DVD:

This film is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. Sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. The film is in English, Portuguese and German with English subtitles when needed. Spanish Subtitles also available.


Sadly, this is a bare bones disc with nothing extra to offer.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Lisbon Story
(OUT OF 10)






The Inside Pulse
With so many great films, it is sad how little of Wender’s work is on DVD. So fans must rejoice whenever one more is made available. If you love cinema and enjoy films about film I highly recommend renting this and experiencing it for yourself. We can only hope that more of his films are on the way.

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