A traveling projection-equipment mechanic works in Western Germany along the East-German border, visiting worn-out theatres. He meets with a depressed young man whose marriage has just broken up, and the two decide to travel together.
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Near the Eastern borders with the West Germany, Bruno, a solitary permanent citizen of the road and film projection equipment repairman, witnesses the sad sight of a VW beetle car storming straight into the River Elbe. However, after a while, the depressed driver, Robert, will instinctively accept an offer for a lift in Bruno's repair van, and just like that, an impromptu relationship will begin in the background of the gloomy German countryside, visiting dilapidated movie theatres for maintenance, one small town after another. No one really knows how long is the road that stretches out ahead of them, after all, the only thing that matters is one's commitment to a precious ideal. Written by
The film underwent a 4K scan and digital restoration in 2014 through ARRI Film & TV Services Berlin. See more »
The VW beetle driven into the Elbe river is not visible anymore when Robert reaches the waterside. Later after Bruno hands over an espresso to Robert, the beetle is shown as finally sinking. See more »
Opening credits provide the aspect ratio and other technical specifications of the film to come. See more »
Communication, identity. A movie with a lot of heart.
Im Lauf Der Zeit (Kings of the Road - In the Course of Time) directed by Wim Wenders was his first own production (Wim Wenders Produktion). It's the third film of his road-movie trilogy (1st Alice in den Städten, 2nd False Bewegung) and it summarizes the bottom idea of the two films into a masterpiece. Yesterday I saw Im Lauf Der Zeit for the second time in theaters and loved it even more than the first time. The big screen achieved to maximize the emotion in it and it let the music express the scenes better.
When they started filming this they actually didn't have a ready script. They kept writing the script chronologically while they were filming the movie and I think that's one of the main reasons, which created this amazing atmosphere for Im Lauf Der Zeit. After the film was ready they got a nearly three hour long road-movie film. In spite of the unplanned script writing the movie is full of small details and it is very well written, I wouldn't call it a masterpiece if it wasn't. The story builds around two men and their relationship. Robert Lander (Hanns Zischler), who has just divorced from his wife meets a projection mechanic Bruno Winter (Rüdiger Vogler) who travels from one dead movie theater to other. They decide to travel together and during the journey they see movie theaters falling apart and a modern country that is being americanized day by day.
In the beginning Robert doesn't have a direction for his life, but instead Bruno has, he has got a clear list of theaters' projection equipment to fix. A clear direction for his life. During the journey they learn about life and start to find new things. They realize that if you want to be satisfied with your identity you must get over your past. The journey they travel together feels so natural, there's not a single mistake. This is a movie where you could actually cry. Not because of it's sadness, but because you can actually feel what the characters are feeling, you can almost touch them.
The film, among friendship and society is about the difficulty of communication. You can see this in the minimal dialog in the film. For Robert communication is mostly writing, printing a newspaper with his father. Then for Bruno it is the language, German and English. Wim Wenders also researches man's identity in Im Lauf Der Zeit. When you're in a state where your identity breaks, you become afraid and vulnerable. If you open yourself up to another human being your identity is in danger, the playing-with-the-shadows scene is a good example of this.
All the movie theaters Bruno and Robert visit in Germany are decayed. The theaters have fallen apart or have decided only to show porn-films. Still Wim Wenders gives an optimistic choice to film-industry as it does to its characters "Everything must change." In the beginning we see a man telling about the great times of silent movies and in the end we see a woman pitying the modern cinema and thinking is it worth to even keep theaters up for this. But then we have just seen Im Lauf Der Zeit, which is a great modern film and it's a proof of the fact that there's still hope in cinema.
This is a long film with many layers, which is why people can write so long reviews of it. We could analyze it for days but these are the main themes I wanted to mention from Im Lauf Der Zeit. It's basically about the difficulty of communication, friendship, identity and about the loneliness in us all. Even that the film works on an artistic and intellectual level, I think it will appeal to all the people. Because in addition to it's artistry it manages to be more entertaining than any silly Hollywood comedy.
10/10 Im Lauf Der Zeit as a three-hour long black and white road movie requires empathy, patience and a lot of heart from the viewer.
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