Alice in the Cities

Director: Wim Wenders
Year Released: 1974
Rating: 2.5

Or, more accurately, Alice and the Metaphors. A journalist (RĂ¼diger Vogler), 'exhausted' with America, decides to fly back to Germany, but before he even leaves New York he encounters a young woman and her daughter also trying to get back to Germany ... then, the mother runs off to deal with personal problems and she sticks him with her little girl, Alice. Why the Vogler character doesn't just leave the girl with the authorities in Europe in the first place and why he develops a fondness for her even though she's a noxious brat is also unclear, although without tending to Alice, there would be no movie (his reasons for being protective of young Alice - "young Germany" - don't need psychological exploration). The interpretations others have brought to this are fascinating - it's a "condemnation of imperialism," a tale about "the loss of innocence" and "unshakable loneliness," "a poem of love and hate directed at American culture," etc. - but I feel these terms are better applied to the considerably richer and disturbing Kings of the Road, making this the equivalent of a promising rough draft.