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ALICE IN THE CITIES

Director: WIM WENDERS

W. GERMANY • 1974 • SUBTITLED • BLACK AND WHITE • 110 MIN


NEVER GIVEN DUE RECOGNITION, ALICE IN THE CITIES IS ONE OF THE FINEST AND MOST ACCESSIBLE OF WENDERS’ EARLY FILMS. THE CENTRAL CHARACTER, PHILIP WINTER (RÜDIGER VOGLER), IS A GERMAN JOURNALIST WHO IS ABOUT TO TRAVEL HOME AFTER AN UNSUCCESSFUL ASSIGNMENT IN THE US.
At a New York airport he meets a German woman and her nine-year-old daughter Alice (Yella Rottlander). When the mother disappears, the journalist becomes responsible for Alice, who accompanies him on a long journey through Germany in search of her family home. The journalist is a typical Wenders protagonist—an alienated outsider who attempts to make sense of the world though his art, which in Philip’s case takes the form of an obsession with Polaroid photographs. It is through his wanderings with Alice, and in particular the child’s fresh, optimistic outlook, that Philip discovers the possibility of a fresh start in his own life. That’s about as much as any Wenders hero can hope for, at least until the angels descend on Berlin in Wings of Desire.

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