The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, Dir. Wim Wenders, Germany, 1972, 103 mins, German with English subtitles
Wim Wenders’ 1972 debut film about an errant goalkeeper losing his mind is newly restored and remastered in 4K resolution, commissioned by the Wim Wenders Foundation under the direct supervision of Wim Wenders. Based on the eponymous novella by Peter Handke about a failed goalkeeper facing existential angst, boredom and self-destruction, and modeled after Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense thrillers films, Wenders’ collaboration with cameraman Robby Müller and his editor Peter Przygodda set the tone and creative team for his prolific career.
The film follows goalkeeper Josef Bloch (Arthur Brauss) after being kicked off the playing field for an aggressive penalty during an away game in Vienna. He aimlessly wanders the city streets at night, battles waves of suppressed emotions and progressively loses his mind. Struggling to reconcile his frustrations and failures, he tailgates a movie theater box-office attendant (Erika Pluhar), takes her to bed and then strangles her in the morning in a moment of madness, and finally retreats to his ex-girlfriend’s (Kai Fischer) country home in case the police ensue.