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German New Wave pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Sam Shepard. Paris, Texas follows the efforts of the mysterious, nearly mute drifter Travis (a magnificent Harry Dean Stanton, whose face is a landscape of its own) to reconnect with his young son, living with his brother (Dean Stockwell) in Los Angeles, and his missing wife (Nastassja Kinski). From this simple setup, Wenders and Shepard produce a powerful statement on codes of masculinity and the myth of the American family, as well as an exquisite visual exploration of a vast, crumbling world of canyons and neon.
Stills from Paris, Texas (Click for larger image)
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Something like a perfect artistic union is achieved in the major components of Paris, Texas: the twang of Ry Cooder's guitar, the lonely light of Robbie Muller's camera, the craggy landscape of Harry Dean Stanton's face. In his greatest role, longtime character actor Stanton plays a man brought back to his old life after wandering in the desert (or somewhere) for four years. He has a 7-year-old son to get to know, and his wife has gone missing. The material is much in the wanderlust spirit of director Wim Wenders, working from a script by Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson. If the long climactic conversation between Stanton and Nastassja Kinski renders the movie uneven and slightly inscrutable, it's hard to think of a more fitting ending--and besides, the achingly empty American spaces stick longer in the memory than the dialogue. Winner of the top prize at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. --Robert Horton
This is the only Criterion edition that is worth spending your time.Published 2 months ago by Yoshiyuki Mukudai
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wim Wenders's love for Americana propelled him to collaborate with famed playwright Sam Shepard and the result was the visually... Read more
Great film, even better on Criterion's Blu-Ray. Robby Müller's cinematography and Wim Wenders direction are impeccable.Published 8 months ago by D. Chang
Slow-paced to the point of a two hour twenty minute yawn. Maybe it had some deep meaning when it came out--this tantalizing, vacuous plot development--and maybe it plays well to... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Elmo B.
Of course. you're already aware that the German director, Wim Wenders was part of the German "new cinema" movement back in the 80's and that this film is a prime example. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Karl Weaver
I was scanning through the TV guide when I was bored one night, and saw that TCM was running a marathon of Nastassja Kinski (whose work I really like) films. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Carlisle Wheeling
Any viewer must mindfully discern the emerging central conflict....because it's in the title. A road film where space is almost a tacit character, and the people or characters... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lonesome Dove