A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
On location in Portugal, a film crew runs out of film while making their own version of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955). The producer is nowhere to be found and director Friedrich... See full summary »
In 17th-century Salem, Hester Prynne must wear a scarlet A because she is an adulteress, with a child out of wedlock. For seven years, she has refused to name the father. A vigorous older ... See full summary »
Hans Christian Blech,
German journalist Philip Winter has a case of writer's block when trying to write an article about the United States. He decides to return to Germany, and while trying to book a flight, encounters a German woman and her nine year old daughter Alice doing the same. The three become friends (almost out of necessity) and while the mother asks Winter to mind Alice temporarily, it quickly becomes apparent that Alice will be his responsibility for longer than he expected. After returning to Europe, the innocent friendship between Winter and Alice grows as they travel together through various European cities on a quest for Alice's grandmother. Written by
Karl Engel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Composer Irmin Schmidt did not see the film before recording the music. Instead he sat with Wim Wenders over the course of one day and wrote the score in collaboration with the director. See more »
At 59:17 when Alice is coming out of the toilet, the door handle in the close-up is reverse (l-r) compared with the next shot when she opens the door. See more »
Lisa - Alice's Mother:
What are you writing?
Philip 'Phil' Winter:
The inhuman thing about American TV is not so much that they hack everything up with commercials, though that's bad enough, but in the end all programmes become commercials. Commercials for the status quo. Every image radiates the same disgusting and nauseated message. A kind of boastful contempt. Not one image leaves you in peace, they all want something from you.
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Chance encounters that often seem purposeless may, upon reflection, turn out to be life changing experiences. Such is the case for German photographer Philip Winter (Rudiger Vogler) in Wim Wenders 1974 film Alice in the Cities, the first of three Wenders road pictures (Wrong Move, Kings of the Road). Traveling through the East Coast of America, Winter is overcome by lethargy and the monotony of the American landscape with its relentless vistas of billboards, chain motels, and fast food restaurants and has little interaction with his surroundings other than to take pictures as a detached observer. At one motel stop, he becomes so infuriated with commercials on television that he destroys the television set.
Blocked in his attempt to write an article describing his journey, he decides to return to Germany but finds that the flights are delayed for a day. At the airport, he strikes up a conversation with a German woman (Lisa Kreuzer) and her nine-year old daughter Alice (Yella Rottländer) also trying to return home. The three share a hotel room and things seem routine until the mother inexplicably departs, leaving a note telling Winter to bring Alice to Amsterdam where she will meet them. The mother, however, does not arrive and Winter is left to care for Alice until relatives can be located. Their relationship, at first filled with resentment, gradually develops into one of trust as they drive together in a rented car trying to locate Alice's grandmother in Wuppertal and the cities of the Ruhr.
Alice in the Cities is a sensitive and thoughtful film that suggests that everything in life has a purpose and that guidance is available if we remain open. The film mixes humor and pathos as the reluctant friends must contend with loneliness and alienation, themes often prevalent in Wenders' films. Rottländer's performance as Alice strikes just the right note. She is believable as the bright, feisty, and often charming little girl and her performance never crosses the line into sentimentality. As Winter slowly begins to see the time with her as an opportunity to embrace rather than as an obstacle to overcome, he finds that being responsible for another person can be transforming and that his quest is not so much for Alice's grandmother as for his own self.
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