Alice in den Städten (Alice in the Cities) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Alice in den Städten (Alice in the Cities) Reviews

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August 23, 2016
What's most remarkable about Alice in the Cities is the way it so vividly--even in grainy 16mm black & white--captures the mid 1970s. Wim Wenders borrows more from French New Wave than his more aggressively rule-demolishing (or at least redefining) contemporaries in New German Cinema by taking the camera to the streets and rendering a relatively simple story in a way that is transcendent. It's a slow, meandering film full of long takes of urban streets and life, and even 40 years later the filmmaking is powerful enough to feel incredibly fresh.

Alice in the Cities is a weird little story. For one, what kind of mother abandons her 9 year old daughter with a bummed out 30-something? It's basically insane and improbable and yet that doesn't detract from the film's beautiful insights into how we connect (or in the case of the film's protagonist, disconnect) with the modern world and the people we grow close to, whether by choice or providence. It's a road movie (and a forebear to Wenders' masterpiece Paris, Texas, which this film really made me want to revisit), and a weird little adventure viewed through Wim Wender's brilliant brain and cinematographer Robby Muller's brilliant eye.
½ July 2, 2016
A very watchable road movie with great cinematography (contrasting the US and Germany) and interesting characters. It doesn't reach high, but succeeds in telling a good tale.
April 7, 2016
The symbolism did not appeal.
½ August 28, 2015
An early Wim Wenders that began his penchant for picturesque cinematography, international flavor, and earnest storytelling. Starring Wenders himself as the film's curious protagonist, the film almost acts as his travelogue, documenting sights in both America and Europe, while also telling a whimsical (albeit simple) story. The film will often go long stretches of scenery chewing, but it's fine as it works as a meditation, and the dialogue is rich enough to bring us back into the narrative when appropriate. Probably the defining film for the German filmmaker's early years.
March 4, 2015
Whatever Wim Wenders wanted to mean with this movie, I did not understand. But, as it often happens with Wim Wenders art - to me, at least - this movie is coming slowly, by and by, in following days.
As I was watching it, I confess, it was boring. The incredibly bad quality black and white did not help, for sure. I don't know if the film needs a restoration, or if it was made so, but it looks like one century old.
However, I did not forget it. As days goes by, the memory of it is more and more clear, and the subtetlies of it slowly crawl to my soul and understanding.
I believe it needs - and deserves - at least a second watch.
May 25, 2014
I have seen two or three Wenders films earlier and they are all top notch. This is a story about a German guy that is in America to write a book of some sort.
the problem is - he is just taking pictures with a polaroid camera
He needs to return to Germany and that's when he meet Alice.

The story turns into an natural adventure and it's beautifully shot.
A bit sad, but at the same time uplifting. Cosy and easy, quite playful. It also feel very personal.

Cool that the tram-like things here are the same as the ones in his later film "Pina", at least I'm pretty sure of it.

8 out of 10 elephants in red Volkswagens.
½ December 30, 2013
An absolutely delightful movie. Heartwarming yet poignant, witty.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2013
Wenders' "American" film is a very charming story about an unlikely friendship between a broke reporter and a child that has been left in his care. The interactions are sweet and genuine.
November 2, 2013
good richness and depth r awesome
April 8, 2013
La sensación de estar en un lugar al que no perteneces, y el viaje organizado por el destino para buscarlo. Un clásico del cine moderno.
February 6, 2013
German road movie with great photography from wim wenders.
September 19, 2012
Why did it have to take SO long to get going? This is one that is appreciated more once fully absorbed.
Super Reviewer
May 2, 2012
It's easy to imagine complaints that "nothing happens" in this nearly two-hour film from the young Wim Wenders, but its pacing is so perfect -- exactly as slow as the story requires, but not a minute slower -- that I only marveled at its confident, expert direction.

Philip Winter (Rudiger Vogler, who played the same character in five Wenders films spanning 20 years) is a German journalist visiting America to write a story about his impressions. But his muse has let him down, and instead he finds himself just snapping endless Polaroid photos. (Seasoned Wenders fans will note his steady motif of characters fixated on capturing reality through a camera.)

When the airport tells Philip that his flight home is delayed, he meets two other stranded Germans: an attractive woman named Lisa and her nine-year-old daughter Alice. After Lisa and Philip strike up a friendship, Lisa says she has unfinished business with Alice's nearby father and -- rather implausibly, yes -- hands Alice over to Philip and tells them to fly overseas without her. She'll catch up later.

From there, the story rests almost entirely upon Philip and Alice (Yella Rottlander). The script does not make any great demands on Rottlander (whose acting career included only three other roles), but she is a relaxed, natural presence. Just an ordinary kid, minus any exaggerated spunk or wit.

When Lisa does not arrive in Amsterdam as scheduled, Philip and Alice are forced to live as temporary companions. Philip has little money and can scarcely provide for himself, much less for a young girl who's typically self-absorbed and oblivious to budget concerns. But the two bond anyway, and the script does a nice job of portraying them as equals and avoiding the situation's potential creepiness (though it's a safe bet that, if this film were made today, Rottländer wouldn't casually walk around shirtless).

Philip remains kind and patient with Alice, but understandably becomes nervous about the possibility of being saddled with an abandoned child. Alice's mention of a grandmother sends them on a rental-car journey to find her, but weak knowledge of the woman's name or whereabouts means the search is difficult. Until the very end, it's unclear whether the story will firmly resolve or just fade away (but, hey, that final shot is a snazzy reverse-zoom).

Krautrock legends Can perform the score, though it's not impressive and lacks the band's typical groove. "Alice in the Cities" also has what may be the least likely Chuck Berry cameo ever, though it's obvious that Wenders just borrowed some Berry concert footage and used cross-cuts to simulate his actors sitting in the audience.
January 8, 2012
Cute story. One of the first 'global movies' I've seen, since it takes place in the US and Germany, and the characters seem to manage themselves quite comfortably on them. Even though the cities are not their natives, they do not behave as tourists, they walk around as if they knew pretty well the places.
December 12, 2011
gledati, gledati, gledati. krasan film ceste.
December 10, 2011
Recommended by Anthony and Giannis.
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2011
The innocent curiosity of a child against the cynicism and disinterest of an adult. All about rambling, clashing and finally bonding. Beautiful film.
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2011
there are many films in this genre going back at least as far as chaplin's 'the kid.' i'll still say without hesitation that this is my favorite. great chemistry between the two lead characters, fascinating references, the director's choice of b&w and wonderful filming locations are all just part of it. there are some truly lovely scenes here and wenders manages never to stray too far into sentimentality, a common pitfall of films on this theme, including chaplin's. here's a handful of odd and magical moments: tho phillip seems bored with america, on his return to germany we see him at a chuck berry concert drinking coca-cola. great use is made of the wuppertal schwebebahn, an early floating monorail. a small boy on a bike races their car through one of the towns in the ruhr district. the touching final scene, shot first from inside, then outside a train. note: the film has been difficult to find in the u.s., which is a pity. it's currently streaming at hulu plus. see it while u can.
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