I’ve just learned that Solveig Dommartin, the otherworldly beauty who brought an angel down to earth, and who found wings of her own, in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (my favorite film), died of a heart attack on January 11.

She was 45 years old.

I will have to watch Wings of Desire again, where cinematographer Henri Alekan (who also filmed Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bête) captured her in such glorious light. She starred in very few films (she also played Claire in Wenders’ sprawling sci-fi story Until the End of the World.) But she was extravagantly beautiful. You can tell in every moment that she’s on the screen in Wenders’ films that he’s totally in love with her. Referring to working with her on Until the End of the World, he said, “Solveig Dommartin and I had written the story of our film together, and we thought that we only had the right to enter into such a sacred area like a persons’s dreams, if we would bring something into the work that was sacred to ourselves.”

Here’s an interview from a few years back.

I’ve written specifically about her performance, and how it moved and inspired me, in Through a Screen Darkly. Thus, it’s a bittersweet weekend, as that goes out to readers on the same weekend that we learn she is no longer with us.

She is survived by her daughter, whose name, curiously enough, is Venus.

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