Four decades before Pina, Wim Wenders made his international breakthrough with a loosely structured “road movie trilogy,” consisting of Alice in the Cities (1974), Wrong Move (1975) and the magisterial concluding chapter, Kings of the Road. The travelers here are movie projector repairman Bruno (frequent Wenders alter-ego Rüdiger Vogler) and hitchhiker Robert (Hanns Zischler), who has sunk into a suicidal depression following the breakup of his marriage. Together, they travel the ghostly border region between the two Germanys, tending to worn-down cinemas and their own wounded souls, longing for a woman’s gentle touch. Brilliantly photographed in black-and-white by the legendary Robby Müller and carrying its three hours of screen time with lightness and grace, this one-of-a-kind masterwork is Wenders’s own Last Picture Show—a melancholic valentine to the cinema, the irretrievable past, and the long cultural shadow cast by America. NOT ON DVD.
“In its gleaming, black-and-white photography, its transparent direction, and the strength of its actors, the film has all those qualities that director Wim Wenders admires so much in John Ford along with a greater philosophical complexity.”
—NYFF14 program note
“There is an almost hypnotic quality to the film – Europe's most telling example of the American road movie.”
—Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
“The first masterpiece of the New German Cinema… It's full of references to Hawks, Ford, and Lang, and one scene has been lovingly lifted in its entirety from Nicholas Ray's The Lusty Men. As the hommages indicate, one of the subjects is the death of cinema, but this isn't an insider's movie. Wenders examines a played-out culture looking for one last move.”
—Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader