Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ALICE IN THE CITIES (German) (1974)

‘The more opinions you have, the less you see.’ - Wim Wenders
How beautifully and sublimely this New German cinema’s auteur captured this self quote into a visual medium! A German journalist roaming with his Polaroid camera into mundane cityscape of America and experiencing emptiness around. The mental block let not finish him the offered task as per the deadline and so he decided to return his homeland. While booking tickets at airport he encounters a German lady and her little daughter Alice. The chance encounter turned into friendship and company but soon it puts him into an unwanted responsibility to take care of the girl as the mother left both of them all of sudden one fine morning. During the journey the innocent and sublime relations with sweet Alice keeps breaking the sullenness of man towards life and himself. It turns out as the journey of odd company in quest of her grandmother’s house but it also proves as something so fulfilling experience for him washing all those dark clouds of bleak nothingness.

Wim Wenders’ this early road film is like an attempt to let you feel silence in the world full of noise. The first half of the film reflects the juxtaposition of two sensibilities and cultures with typical Wendersian road film camera portraying American skyscrapers and industrial structures, commercial mass television and capitalist and consumerist driven world against the inherent European artistic mindset and sensibilities of a German reporter. With every Polaroid shots he took he tried to compare the photographic image with one which is real but didn’t get the feel. He maybe lost artist suffering from cultural block. His mandatory company and odd responsibility with the little girl led him towards the stretching journey from one destination to another and helps him to come out of his existential disillusionment. Wenders fascinatingly captured not only road journey of car but also views from train, airplane and boat too! The final shot pulls out and away from Munich Express scene is something that gives it lingering feel…Just beautiful!


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