PARIS, TEXAS || 1984, West Germany / France / UK || Drama || Directed by – Wim Wenders / Written by – L.M. Kit Carson, Sam Shepard / Produced by – Anatole Dauman, Pascale Dauman, Don Guest, Chris Sievernich / Music by – Ry Cooder / Cinematographer – Robby Muller / Editing by – Peter Przygodda / Art direction – Kate Altman / Starring – Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément, Hunter Carson / Running time: 147 mins.
It is a point of argument among film buffs everywhere that Wim Wenders witnessed a formidable reisnassance when with Alice in the Cities, in which an estranged and uninspired reporter found remeption through a little girl and the immensity of the United States, with its neverending highways and seemingly immense landscapes. Many of these elements are revisited in his film Paris, Texas, in which perhaps he is less experimental in approach, but just as groundbreakingly ambitious.
The film stars a blank-faced Harry Dean Stanton in a career defining performance, as an amnesiac whom we are first acquainted with as he walks through the desert mysteriously. Eventually, his identity is rediscovered, and his return to society as well as his connection with his seven year old kid make up for the pivotal narrative of the film.
Paris, Texas is made of up of many fascinating and daring elements, such as the almost complete lack of dialogue from the confused and soft spoken central character, a quite unusual fact in cinema. There is a certain heart warming innocence about it that is well balanced and even somewhat understated, but for that reason extremely rewarding and effective in revealing the many layers of the film’s emotional and psychological depth, which works because it is driven by a collective vision of the filmmaker’s that also comes across as greatly unique and intuitive. What is meant by intuitiveness in this case is also emotion and tone.
Paris, Texas is as dramatic as it is humorous – mostly in a deadpan way. Due to its stylistic approach and excellent cinematography, it has great poetic appeal which admirably doesn’t spoonfeed or maniputale the viewer in any significant way, instead opting for a more active and ultimately rewarding interaction that nevertheless conceals a lot of honest observations about themes of alienation, vulnerabilities and masculinity in general. – 5/5