It’s another gorgeous travelogue road trip wenders film with photography from Robby Mueller (dp of dead man, many of the jarmusch films actually, and worked with Von Trier on breaking the waves and dancer in the dark) even if it isn’t half as beautiful as kings of the road (also shot by Mueller)
Sum of the parts are tremendous—we have a great lead performance from veteran supporting actor and this generation’s ward bond harry dean stanton. It’s written by sam shepard and ry cooder does the acoustic minimal music
Rustic photography of the southwest—plenty of road signs (ongoing visual motif) form into a slow burn poetic film about human relationships (with brother, son he abandoned, and wife who left him).
Dean Stanton is completely silent the first 25 minutes
It’s certainly meditative and at times it seems quite aimless
The opening helicopter establishing shot sure looks like ford’s monument valley
I love the reoccurring shot of harry dean Stanton just appearing in the frame from camera left or camera right- happens a few times to start the film (see above) almost as if he’s being photographed out of happenstance
Stockwell appears in a Stetson baseball cap in front of artificial background—it’s an odd statement—maybe showing he’s a fake dad to dean stanton’s son
Standout scene of dialogue in front of a gorgeous freeway overpass
Narrative influenced rain man (brother taking take of other brother with issues—can’t get on plane) and forrest gump– the dean Stanton character for the first 25 minutes is like the running version of forrest gump
Slow-burn road trip movie
Highly Recommend- back end of a top 10 year quality
[…] Paris, Texas – Wenders […]
It actually took me a couple of watches to get this film. I loved it in the first watch, because it is so utterly immersive, but I didn’t fully understand it. I consider this such a masterpiece. Could be an overstatement, or a soft spot for Wenders in general, but take a look at the photography. It’s beautiful. And the way Wenders captures the night sky and neon lights (greens, blues and reds) is mesmerising. Poetic, immersive and completely hypnotic. It all culminates in a near final shot of him standing opposite the hotel, the most famous shot in the film, which I am certain is also the finest single frame of 1984. It’s perfect. As the guys at Criterion poignantly note, Harry Dean Stanton’s face is a landscape of its own. The trip with his brother is the first strong section of Paris, Texas – we drive through Midwest American countryside during night and day. The second part that really warrants attention is of course the iconic dialogue with Nastassja Kinski. The film explores quite freely themes of redemption and forgiveness. I really do believe these are its core elements. Stanton wanders through the landscapes of Texas as he wanders through the landscapes of his heart, searching for a place where all is forgiven, desperate to find himself after years of being lost. And so he searches for that place, somewhere safe and peaceful, he returns to a womb of sorts, to the place of conception, Paris, Texas. And in that journey he is found by his loved ones and is forced to make peace with his past. As he talks to Kinski, she tries to look at him, and where her face is we see his reflection on the glass (in a brilliant frame). We understand that, as all people eventually do, Stanton’s character searches for redemption in himself, not in his wife, his brother or his child. He has now found peace. He needs, absolutely, to be alone – forgiven nonetheless. I adore this one.
@Georg- As always, your writing makes me want to plug this one back in and watch again for things I may have missed. Thank you.