IMDb > Kings of the Road (1976)
Im Lauf der Zeit
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Kings of the Road (1976) More at IMDbPro »Im Lauf der Zeit (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   3,485 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
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View company contact information for Kings of the Road on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
January 1977 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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. | Add synopsis »
Awards:
3 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Often bleak, always beautiful See more (13 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Rüdiger Vogler ... Bruno Winter

Hanns Zischler ... Robert Lander

Lisa Kreuzer ... Pauline, cashier
Rudolf Schündler ... Robert's Father
Marquard Bohm ... Man Who Lost His Wife
Hans Dieter Trayer ... Paul, garage owner (as Dieter Traier)
Franziska Stömmer ... Cinema owner
Patric Kreuzer ... Little boy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Wim Wenders ... Spectator at Pauline's Theater
Peter Kaiser ... Movie presenter (uncredited)
Michael Wiedemann ... Teacher (uncredited)

Directed by
Wim Wenders 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Wim Wenders 

Produced by
Wim Wenders .... producer
 
Original Music by
Axel Linstädt 
 
Cinematography by
Robby Müller 
Martin Schäfer 
 
Film Editing by
Peter Przygodda 
 
Production Design by
Bernd Hirskorn 
Heidi Lüdi 
 
Sound Department
Bruno Bollhalder .... sound
Martin Müller .... sound engineer
Paul Schöler .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Martin Schäfer .... assistant camera
 
Editorial Department
Philipp Orgassa .... digital restoration colorist
Barbara von Weitershausen .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Hans Dreher .... technical director
Renée Gundelach .... consultant
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Im Lauf der Zeit" - West Germany (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
175 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
According to Wim Wenders many visual motives in the movie are inspired by the photographies of Walker Evans. Wenders also showed DOP Robby Müller photos by Evans before the filming began.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The VW beetle driven into the Elbe river is not visible anymore when Robert reaches the waterside. Later after Bruno hands over an espresso to Robert, the beetle is shown as finally sinking.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Wanderlust (2006) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Lisa's AccelerandoSee more »

FAQ

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Often bleak, always beautiful, 9 May 2012

Bruno (Rudiger Vogler) is a Cinema projector repair man who travels from town to town along the West and East German border repairing old cinema projectors. One day while shaving by the side of a road, a man drives his car at high speed into a lake, gets out and walks over to Bruno. Bruno, not knowing what else to do laughs at the man and offers him some clean clothes. The man, Robert (Hanns Zischler) hitchhikes with Bruno from town to town beginning a strange and often uneasy friendship.

The film has several themes which jump out at you and are present throughout. The first is a love of cinema and anger at what has become of the small German cinema. Most of the cinemas that Bruno visits are either badly run, have been turned into porn theatres or are closed altogether. This is director Wim Wenders way of showing viewers what is happening to small cinemas. It is a problem which over thirty years later is still present in my own country. Occasionally Bruno will come across a small, old theatre run by an ex Nazi that is run with care and dedication. A place where old, noisy machines are used by artisan projectionists to show the great classics of the 50s and 60s but generally he deals with people who have no interest in film or it's proper projection. This film is very much a love letter to film.

A second theme is that of loneliness. Both men are incredibly lonely. Robert's half hearted suicide attempt and constant depression is due to his loneliness after his wife has left him while Bruno spends his life on the road, in an old van, with no time for any love or affection from a woman. For large swathes of the film nothing is said but much is learned through glances and slight comments. It isn't until over an hour in that we discover what the characters names are and it is about two days after travelling together that the two men actually reveal their names. Both are used to silent existences. In one telling scene, Robert confronts his father about never being allowed to speak and we gain insight into why he is so silent.

The third and final central theme is the Americanisation of Germany. This is a theme of the entire second half of the twentieth century but obviously something that affected West Germany in a large way. When talking about American music Bruno states that "The Yanks have colonized our subconscious". Although filmed and set in the mid 1970s it is still obvious that the Second World War is in the back of everyone's minds. Bruno lost his father to it, the elderly people were party members and the Americans still have a say in the daily lives of Germans who like Bruno and Robert were possibly not even born in 1945. There is a sense that the men and Germany as a whole have been castrated by American 'imperialism' and that is one of the factors in their introverted and non communicative personalities.

A visual metaphor that Wenders uses is a railway. For much of the film, the men are seen to drive parallel to railways as though to indicate that they are remaining with the status quo and nothing is changing in their lives. In one telling scene, Robert has to cross the line to confront his father and in another he stands very close to it as a train passes, almost as if he is desperate to cross but can't quite manage it. It is as if the line is a barrier between their current selves and what they could be. This is confirmed in the closing scene in which the two men part company.

Shot in black and white the film has the kind of hyper realism of Martin Scorsese's contemporary films. Wim Wenders goes a step further though and is not afraid to show the audience every part of a person's life. In one early scene Bruno is seen parking his van/home near a beach, walking on to the beach, squatting and defecating. The faeces are actually visible leaving his body. The scene is unexpected and shocking but makes you realise that you are seeing every part of this person's life and that nothing is being left out. In later scenes a cinema projectionist is seen to be masturbating, again showing the entire act and Robert is filmed urinating, once again hiding nothing. This hyper realism was unexpected and is responsible for the film's '18' Certificate in the UK. Was it necessary? No. But it let the audience know that nothing was being hidden from them.

The plot itself is very slow and nothing much happens for a long time. It is the lack of communication that drives the tension rather than car chases or explosions etc. You almost want to reach into the film and start a conversation. The film also feels older than it is in part due to the black and white but also because the rural Germany in which the protagonists are driving through feels unchanged from before the war. The landscape of the towns reminded me of rural Slovakia, a country which today feels somewhat more 'backward' and less developed than Germany.

The acting is very realistic and the script also adds to the realism. Wenders' shooting technique is visually arresting but the film is nearly three hours long and feels longer. It's a film that I'm glad I watched and would recommend to hardcore cineaste but a lot of people will find the film boring. I enjoyed it but could have done with an hour less of it.

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