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Literature Film Quarterly (1988) - American Friends and Strangers on Trains




Where Highsmith's Jonathan sacrifices himself - perhaps intentionally - by taking a bullet intended for Ripley, in The American Friend Jonathan drives off without him. The film, essentially, is about colonization - or, more specifically, about the need to resist the American colonziation of the unconscious, a concern of special import to a nation which devoured American culture wholesale in the post-war period as a way of covering up a hole, of filling a vacuum created by the need to forget-as Wenders himself has noted - with chewing gum and Polaroid picture.