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Directed by Wim Wenders

West Germany 1974 112 mins.

Alice in the Cities is technically Wenders’ fourth film, but he often refers to it as his first, because it was during the making of this film that he discovered the “road movie,” the genre that would eventually become his signature. It was also his first film to be shot (partially) in the U.S. and the first to feature his alter ego, Philip Winter (Rüdiger Vogler). Winter, a German journalist, wants to write a story about America but is unable to produce anything apart from a series of Polaroids. The day before Winter is set to return home, a woman convinces him to take her daughter Alice (Yella Rottländer) with him. Saying that she has urgent business to take care of, the woman agrees to meet them in Amsterdam to reclaim her daughter. When the mother fails to appear as planned, Winter and Alice set out to try to find Alice’s grandmother in the Ruhr region of Germany. During their search together, their initial mutual dislike gradually transforms into a heartfelt affection.