Land of Plenty

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Land of Plenty
Land of plenty.jpg
German release poster
Directed byWim Wenders
Written byMichael Meredith
Wim Wenders
Produced byIn-Ah Lee
Samson Mucke
Gary Winick
StarringMichelle Williams
John Diehl
CinematographyFranz Lustig
Edited byMoritz Laube
Music byDie Toten Hosen
TV Smith
Thom & Nackt
Distributed byIFC Films
Release date
Running time
123 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States

Land of Plenty is a 2004 American drama film directed by Wim Wenders starring Michelle Williams and John Diehl.[2]

The title of the film comes from the song "The Land of Plenty" from the album Ten New Songs, written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, which was used in the movie. The film was Gloria Stuart's last screen appearance before her death in 2010.


The movie presents a view of post-9/11 United States as seen through the eyes of Lana, an American girl who has lived in Africa and the Middle East for years with her missionary parents. She is returning from a long trip to the West Bank. In Los Angeles, she works at a homeless mission and looks up her only living relative in the US, her late mother's brother, Paul. He is a traumatized Vietnam veteran who drives around filming and spying on Arabs or people with Arab features in the belief that most, if not all are planning terrorist acts on US soil. Lana, in contrast, leans toward anti-war convictions and has been changed by her experiences abroad, so feels outside American culture.

Having first-hand knowledge of the Middle East and Africa, she sees similarities between the slums of Los Angeles and those of the Third World. After she and Paul see the murder of a young Pakistani outside the mission, they take his body to his family. Their road trip offers Paul a different view of Muslim home life. Over the course of the film, Paul and Lana learn more about each other.



Of the idea for the film, Wim Wenders said it "originated with the fundamentalist Christianity of the Bush era. From the anger that Christianity has been so perverted and used in so a perfidious manner for political interests. As a Christian, I know no other option except to be against war and to have solidarity with the poor".[3] He added, "My film…addresses the underbelly of poverty in the United States, and specifically in Hollywood – not only the entertainment capital of the world, but also an unacknowledged capital of hunger. Poverty was not the main subject of the film, but more of a backdrop to a film that tried to deal with the post-9/11 trauma in the US. The two issues are linked, of course…The problem is that the social net in America has too many holes that people can fall through; they end up abandoned, lost and without hope, which is even more tragic if you think about the country's wealth and its very own ideals of brotherhood and equality."[4]

The film was shot in 16 days using digital cameras.[3]

In the United States, the film was distributed by IFC Films.[5]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 62% based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10.[6] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 62 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7]

Kevin Thomas of Los Angeles Times said, "Hampered by an ending that overreaches needlessly, the film is nevertheless worthy and unmistakably the effort of an enduringly distinctive and important filmmaker."[8] Leslie Felperin of Variety praised Michelle Williams' performance, saying, "Engaging perfs keep its motor running, with Williams in particular charming and convincing as a politically engaged humanist."[9]


  1. ^ "Land of Plenty". Wim Wenders Foundation. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  2. ^ Scott, A. O. (October 12, 2005). "A Desire to Heal the Rifts in a Troubled Landscape". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Attacking the "Land of Plenty"". October 12, 2004. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  4. ^ Satterlee, Saundra (March 11, 2008). "A look back with Wim Wenders". The Guardian. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  5. ^ Gonzalez, Ed (October 8, 2005). "Review: Land of Plenty". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  6. ^ "Land of Plenty". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "Land of Plenty". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  8. ^ Thomas, Kevin (November 11, 2005). "Getting left behind in 'Land of Plenty'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  9. ^ Felperin, Leslie (September 14, 2004). "Land of Plenty". Variety. Retrieved November 15, 2017.

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