Kings of the Road is about a friendship between two men: Bruno, a.k.a. King of the Road (Rüdiger Vogler), who repairs film projectors and travels along the inner German border in his truck, and the psychologist Robert, a.k.a. Kamikaze (Hanns Zischler), who is fleeing from his own past. When Robert drives his old Volkswagen straight into the Elbe River, he is fished out by Bruno. This is the beginning of their shared journey through a German no-man’s-land, a journey that leads them from the Lüneburg Heath to the Bavarian Forest. Wenders began the film without a script. Instead, there was a route that he had scouted out beforehand: through all of the little towns along the Wall that still contained a movie theater in this era of cinematic mass extinction. The old moving van with the film projectors in the back becomes a metaphor for the history of film—it is no coincidence that the film is dedicated to Fritz Lang. This “men’s story” also treats the themes of the absence of women, of loneliness, and of postwar Germany. At one point, Bruno says to Robert: “The Yankees have colonized our subconscious.”
Join Janus Films in 2018 as we celebrate the centennial of the Swedish director’s birth with a traveling retrospective of all of his theatrical films!
For what would prove to be his final film, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami gave himself a challenge: to create a dialogue between his work as a filmmaker and his work as a photographer, bridging the two art forms to which he had dedicated his life.
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Commissioned to make a working-class family drama, up-and-coming director Rainer Werner Fassbinder took the assignment and ran, upending expectations by depicting social realities in West Germany from a critical—yet far from cynical—perspective.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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