Paris, Texas (1984)
Dir: Wim Wenders - released on 19 September 1984 (France).
This Wim Wender’s film was released 30 years ago. Paris, Texas is a film of countless pleasures. A lone figure wanders across a beautiful but desolate wasteland in South Texas. Out of water, he stumbles into a tiny settlement not big enough to be a town - and collapses. The doctor who revives him calls a number in the man’s pocket, belonging to Walter Henderson (Dean Stockwell). Walt rushes from his home in LA to collect the man - his long-lost brother Travis (Stanton). Travis doesn’t talk to Walt until they are well into their drive back to LA, and even then doesn’t explain his whereabouts for the four years he’s been missing. All that time, he was presumed dead by Walt, his wife Anne (Aurore Clement), and Travis’s son Hunter (Hunter Carson), who has lived with Walt and Anne since Travis’s disappearance. Back in LA, Travis struggles to make sense of his situation, and to get to know his son, now nearly eight years old. Finally Travis decides to track down Hunter’s mother, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), and takes his son on a road trip back to Texas to find her.
No part of Paris, Texas feels underdeveloped or lacking - the script, performances, photography by Müller, music by Ry Cooder, production design by Kate Altman, and sound mixing is all of a piece and part of a coherent vision. Paris, Texas is a mood piece, a character-driven narrative, a meditation, and a true romance. It’s unforgettable.
Here’s a two parts featurette on the film. The first is an interview with Wim Wenders (28:58) from German television in 2001. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here about Wenders’ experiences in and attitude toward the United States that led up to the production of Paris, Texas. The second part is Cinema Cinemas (12:12) is a segment from a French television program of that title that documents the making of the film’s score. It’s an interesting piece for all cinephiles. These featurettes are also included in the Paris, Texas (Criterion Collection) available in DVD and Blu-ray, get your copy now.