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Land of Plenty

Land of Plenty
Scene from "Land of Plenty" (photo © Reverse Angle/IFC)

Using the streets of downtown Los Angeles as a backdrop, Wim Wenders' new film is a darkly humorous and poignant essay on contemporary America.

We see the country from two very different perspectives: Through the eyes of a patriotic and troubled Vietnam veteran on one hand, and from the point of view of a young American woman on the other.

A retired Green Beret, Paul is obsessed with protecting the Land of the Free and with doing his part in the ongoing “War Against Terror”. He was shot down in combat near Long Thanh at the age of eighteen, and is now experiencing the increasing psychological effects of dioxin poisoning, the result of being exposed to Agent Pink exfoliate more than thirty years ago. The events of 9/11 retriggered his trauma of war and made the ghosts of his past return. But fear is the last thing Paul could admit to himself.

Lana has lived in Africa and Europe for the last ten years and is returning to her home country after a long absence. She intends to go to college, but finds herself involved very soon in a Downtown Mission that is serving the huge homeless community of America’s “Hunger Capital”. She’s an idealist, still trying to define her place in the world. She finds her Christian faith in striking opposition to positions taken by the present administration.

Paul has no friends and has cut all ties with his family. His reclusive existence as a self-declared homeland security officer collapses when Lana enters into it. She is his long forgotten niece, and her uncle the only connection to her mother’s family. Paul grudgingly accepts her presence.

When they witness the apparently random shooting of a homeless Middle-Eastern man, they decide to investigate this incident together, even if for very different reasons. On this quest for the truth, their different views of the world collide radically.

The film is based on the hope that “truth” is not an altogether lost notion in today’s political and social realities. Even in America, even in 2003.


Wim Wenders was born in Düsseldorf in 1945. After discovering his love for cinema in Paris, he attended film school in Munich from 1967-1970. Also active as a photographer and writer, he has made more than 50 films since 1971 all over the world. A selection of his acclaimed films includes: THE GOALKEEPER'S FEAR OF THE PENALTY (1971), ALICE IN THE CITIES (1973), IN THE COURSE OF TIME (1976), THE AMERICAN FRIEND (1977), HAMMETT (1982), THE STATE OF THINGS (1982), PARIS, TEXAS (1984), WINGS OF DESIRE (1987), UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD (1991), FARAWAY, SO CLOSE! (1993), LISBON STORY (1994), THE END OF VIOLENCE (1997), BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB (1998), THE MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL (2000), THE SOUL OF A MAN (2003), LAND OF PLENTY (2004), DON'T COME KNOCKING (2005), PALERMO SHOOTING (2008), PINA (2011), CATHEDRALS OF CULTURE (2013), THE SALT OF THE EARTH (2014), and EVERY THING WILL BE FINE (2015).
Genre Drama, Road Movie
Category Feature
Year of Production 2004
Director Wim Wenders
Screenplay Michael Meredith, Wim Wenders
Cinematography Franz Lustig
Moritz Laube
Thom & Nackt
Nathan Amondson
Cast John Diehl, Michelle Williams, Richard Edson, Wendell Pierce, Gloria Stuart, Burt Young, Shaun Toub, Bernard White
Producers Peter Schwartzkopff, Jonathan Sehring, Caroline Kaplan, John Sloss, In-Ah Lee, Samson Mucke, Jake Abraham, Gary Winick
Production Companies Reverse Angle International/Hamburg, InDigEnt/New York
Length 123 min
Dubbed Versions German
Original Version
 English
Subtitled Versions German, Italian
Sound Technology Dolby Digital
Festivals Venice 2004 (In Competition), Toronto 2004 (Masters), Pusan 2004, Goteborg 2005, Rotterdam 2005, Warsaw 2005, Ljubljana 2005
German Distributor Reverse Angle Pictures/Berlin

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