Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Dec 13, 2019

In 1991, with his sci-fi road epic Until the End of the World, Wim Wenders delivered a stunning vision of the near future. Set in 1999—as an out-of-control satellite threatens to wipe out the world’s communications systems, and a restless wanderer (Solveig Dommartin) crisscrosses the globe in pursuit of a stranger (William Hurt) on a technologically advanced mission—the film conjures a world that often seems uncannily similar to the one we inhabit now: cars come equipped with navigation systems, a World Wide Web–like network has made information easily accessible, and characters become wholly engrossed in their handheld devices.

Our new release of Until the End of the World, which presents the film in its monumental 287-minute director’s cut, features an introduction by Wenders in which he touches on the process of forecasting the marvels—and the drawbacks—that the digital age might have in store. In the above clip from the intro, the director discusses how some of the film’s most seemingly prescient predictions—including its proto–Ask Jeeves search engine, in which an animated bear serves as a guide to the internet—followed organically from his observations of trends in the present.