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.
Six days in the life of Wilhelm: a detached man without qualities. He wants to write, so his mother gives him a ticket to Bonn, telling him to live. On the train he meets an older man, an ... See full summary »
Hans Christian Blech
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 »
The director Friedrich Monroe has trouble with finishing a silent b&w movie about Lisbon. He calls his friend, the sound engineer Phillip Winter, for help. As Winter arrives Lisbon weeks ... 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 <email@example.com>
The novel "Tender is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is seen on the coffee table of Phil Winter's girlfriend. A character in the novel, Rosemary Hoyt, was inspired by Fitzgerald's affair with actress Lois Moran, who appears in this film as an airport hostess. 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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I might have been Alice. Or was I too fearful, too cared for, too lost in myself? Was I born at the wrong time? When I watch this film, I'm reminded of a line from another of director Wim Wenders' films: "Life is in colour, but black & white is more realistic". I'm still not sure if I believe that, but there are memories that seem more a thing of light and shadow than of colour. And this is, after all, a black & white film. "Alice in the Cities" is as much about its other main character, Philip Winter, as Alice herself. Him, I have been. Lost out on the highways of New Brunswick and Maine, lonely hotel holidays all by myself with no one to comfort or to talk with. I wanted to smash that television just as he does in an early scene, but it was my only companion through the long night ahead.
"Alice in the Cities" is the first of three consecutive films by Wim Wenders about the open road, each starring Rüdiger Vogler as a similar, if not identical character. The second, "The Wrong Movement" (Falsche Bewegung) (1975), is an incredibly difficult slog of total human alienation. The third, and much better than the second film, "Kings of the Road" (Im Lauf der Zeit) (1976) is similar to this one, as Mr. Winter continues his journeys through the German countryside.
This is a film about childhood relationships - not those we have with our peers, but those of a greater age. This makes perfect sense to me, as I would without fail seek out the company of an adult over the fleeting fancies of ones closer to me. To me, anything past fully grown would blur together, all except for the very old. Philip isn't comfortable with children, just as I have become over time. It is a hallmark of those who feel that they have never outgrown their own childhood, who feel so lost inside the adult world that the past feels foreign to a present that will never fit. Their belief that living in the future is futile keeps them grounded in today, their only salvation from a life spent dreaming.
Reality is harsh in "Alice in the Cities". The release comes where life lives. The precious and precocious sensation of human interaction runs like a vein through the center of everything. This is a story suitable for anyone, not because it holds back, but because it is all in. In love with the very same world it fears, holding the hands of the same dream on whose feet it steps on. Like we all do in life. This film feels exactly like those first two or three years of your earliest memories. If you let it, you'll be taken further back than you'd have ever imagined.
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