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DCA Archive

Alice In The Cities

Kino Dreams: Wim Wenders Retrospective

Alice in the Cities was a make-or-break undertaking for Wim Wenders, but the film soon established him as one of the leading lights of New German Cinema, with a highly distinctive voice. 

"...he attempts to reunite her with her grandparents back in Germany."

Alice, a nine-year-old German girl, is abandoned by her mother in the New York hotel room of a fellow German, a jaded journalist played by Wenders regular Rüdiger Vogler. The film follows their growing attachment as he attempts to reunite her with her grandparents back in Germany.  

Some may argue that Wenders may have gone on to make even greater films, but Alice in the Cities set the template, and high standard of what was to follow. Like Kings of the Road and Paris, Texas, this is a road movie in which the journey is more important than the destination. Like Wings of Desire, it is about the tensions between innocence and experience. Like The State of Things and The American Friend, it is an exploration of his love-hate relationship with America and Hollywood. Throw in Wenders’ impeccable feel for filming urban and rural landscapes, his almost peerless use of pop music (the score is by Kraut Rock legends Can), his brave insistence on privileging the quiet moments in life that that most filmmakers leave out, and two stunningly natural lead performances and you have a pivotal film from one of cinema’s greatest decades.  

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