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aka - Im Lauf der Zeit
Germany 1976
Directed by
Wim Wenders
176 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Kings Of The Road

Fashion in whatever field regularly yields productions that are often hailed in their own time but in hindsight, shorn of the Zeitgeist sympathies that gave them resonance, seem self-indulgent. New German Cinema was one of the buzz phenomena of the early 70s and Wim Wenders, along with Werner Herzog, was in its vanguard.

With Kings Of The Road is part of a loose trilogy of "road" films starring Rüdiger Vogler as a morose central character, (he had previously played a photo-journalist in Alice In The Cities, 1973 and would reappear in Wenders' Wrong Move, 1975), a peripatetic cinema theatre maintenance man who hooks up with a suicidal pediatrician getting over a relationship break-up and together they wander around the countryside along the border of East and West Germany in a van doing very little.

The lack of plot, the characters’ world-weary disaffection and Wenders’ estranging approach to direction, an extension of the style he had developed in the two previous films, might have had a discernible resonance in 1976 but today, particularly with a nearly 3 hour running time this is a near-purgatorial exercise in self-reflexive irony and dour social commentary only slightly mollified by the seductive black and white photography of Robby Müller and Martin Schäfer.

Audiences who know of Wenders only through his break-out hit Paris, Texas (1984) will find thematic similarities here but are likely to be challenged by this film's less conventional approach. BH

DVD Extras: Available as a part of a 3 disc Madman release that also includes Alice In The Cities, 1973 and Wrong Move, 1975. Kings comes with deleted scenes.

Available from: Madman




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