The End of Alice

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video and sound
duration: 6 min loop

Stations of the Cross, St Stephen Walbrook, London, 2017
Stations 2020, Arts Chaplaincy Projects, 2020

Laura Moffatt, ‘Stations of the Cross and Resurrection’, Art & Christianity, No 90, Summer 2017
Muriel Zagha, ‘From Psycho to Transcendence’, Elephant, 2017
Stations of the Cross | Stations of the Resurrection, Stations 2017, catalogue, ISBN 978-1-5272-0874-2s 

from the series Stations of the Cross

© acknowledgements:
Alice in the Cities (1974) 

Commentary by Lucy Newman Cleeve for Stations 2020

The Third Station: Jesus falls the first time

The end of Wim Wenders’ Alice in the Cities (1974) — comprising a close up shot of a young girl (Yella Rottländer) inside a train carriage, an ascending aerial landscape view, and a scrolling credit sequence — is cut in three, timeshifted, looped and superimposed on itself. When the credits reach the end, the whole scene is repeated with the footage reversed. The film’s soundtrack theme is similarly timeshifted and layered. In the film, the child Alice has been abandoned by her mother; in this context perhaps a reference to Jesus’ own feelings of abandonment by God the Father. The slowed down footage of Alice blinking makes her appear drowsy, as if she is falling asleep or more literally ‘falling’. She becomes an archetype for the experiences of children during lockdown, viewing the outside world through a window, enduring boredom and repetition and unable to escape the imposition of screens and digital media. She is a still point within a chaotic world and through the final establishing shot we are given a privileged view of seeing this world from a distance. The rolling credits reveal who the director is — who is ‘in control’ — and the work could perhaps be understood as presenting the death of Jesus within the framework of a broader divine plan. The inclusion of a film’s closing credit sequence is a device that Dean returns to in each of the three Stations in which Jesus falls, used each time to different effect.