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Paris, Texas (The Criterion Collection)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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)




Amazon.com

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


Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Audio commentary featuring Wenders
Interview with Wenders by German journalist Roger Willemsen
Excerpts from the 1990 film Motion and Emotion
New interviews with filmmakers Allison Anders and Claire Denis
"Wim Wenders Hollywood April '84"
Deleted scenes and Super 8 home movies
Gallery of Wenders' location-scouting photos
Behind-the-scenes photos by Robin Holland
Theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Nick Roddick

Product Details

  • Actors: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Sam Berry, Bernhard Wicki
  • Directors: Wim Wenders
  • Writers: L.M. Kit Carson, Sam Shepard
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman, Chris Sievernich, Don Guest, Pascale Dauman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 147 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002U6DVPS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,344 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Paris, Texas (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on February 1, 2010
Format: DVD
Films made about the United States by foreign filmmakers are interesting because quite often they provide a unique perspective - someone from the outside looking in. German filmmaker Wim Wenders did just this with his film Paris, Texas. It was a collaboration with acclaimed playwright and actor Sam Shepard and can be seen as a kind of lament for an era of the American west that no longer exists. It's an American road movie about characters living on the fringes of society and was made during the peak of the materialistic Reagan era. Paris, Texas went on to win the coveted Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival and firmly established Wenders as an art house darling.

The first disc features an audio commentary by filmmaker Wim Wenders. The director talks about how he and Ry Cooder decided to use the music that is in the Paris, Texas. Wenders also talks about the origins of the film and working with Sam Shepard on the screenplay. The director talks about the genesis of the film's title and how it relates to Travis. Wenders tells many filming anecdotes on this informative track.

Also included is a theatrical trailer.

The second disc starts off with an interview with Wenders from 2001. He had wanted to make a film about America but hadn't done it to his satisfaction with his previous films. It wasn't until Paris, Texas that he felt like he had achieved this goal. It was also the first time he worked in a spontaneous fashion without a pre-planned shot list.

"The Road to Paris, Texas" is a collection of interviews with key collaborators of Wenders over the years. They all speak admiringly of the man. Wenders talks about the influence of rock `n' roll and road movies on his work.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Matthew L. Cloner on July 17, 2010
Format: DVD
I had been aware of this film for a number of years, but had always failed to watch it. I recently checked it out of my local library and the DVD sat on top of my TV for days until I finally took the time to watch it. To be honest, I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about until toward the end of the movie; it really carries an emotional punch with it. This is not a snapshot of the beautiful America that most foreigners have of our country. There are few manicured lawns and towering mansions in this film. The characters do not lead glamourous lives; you will never see them on the covers of magazines in the check-out lines in the supermarket. But it took a German filmmaker to create a visually stunning portrait of a side of America that few people ever really see, especially in the usual films that you rent at your local video store. There is so much sadness, regret, pain and utter desolation in this film and it's oftentimes reflected in the vast landscape of the American Southwest. Do yourself a favor today and watch this film. Its characters and story and music will stay with you long after you watch the ending credits!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert Bezimienny on February 17, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
Criterion's Blu-ray transfer is magnificent. The image is very natural, with great depth - I viewed this via a 1080p projector, and the transfer was as film-like as could be hoped for. The soundtrack is as impressive - with Ry Cooder's music being so integral to the heart of the film, this improvement over DVD is very welcome.

I remember first viewing this at the cinema in the 80s. To be honest, I found it a bit gruelling. At that time I hadn't seen much in the way of European cinema, and the American setting and actors had me expecting a film with not just a different pace but a different emotional world.

Now I find 'Paris, Texas' makes me think of a strange mix of other films.

Firstly, classic Westerns; most notably, 'The Searchers' - primarily for the mood evoked by the vast expanse of landscape, but also for the ultimately unfathomable motivations of the characters - however much you learn about Travis (or Ethan Edwards) the story behind their actions remains incomplete.

Terrence Malick's 'Days of Heaven' also comes to mind - again there is ravishing cinematography, and the overwhelming sense of immense space; there is also the direct connection with Sam Shepherd writing for Wenders and acting for Malick; the characters too share a terrifying vision of love, a vision that seems embodied in their physical surroundings - the superficial beauty is tied to an emotional emptiness, a kind of directionlessness, where ordinary morality is limited in its powers. It's as if both films speak of a freedom, intoxicating and full of promise, but which is also frightening, in that anything is possible and everything feels insecure.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wouldn't recommend "Paris, Texas" as a blind buy but if you are a fan of the film this is the ultimate edition compared to the arid DVDs that have appeared before. If you've never seen the movie you may want to rent it first to see if it's to your taste; Wim Wenders' film blends European style filmmaking with an almost literary approach to a story about a man who mysteriously disappears and then, suddenly, pops up gradually resuming his old identity and life. It's a mystery without a conclusion that doesn't focus on the why or how but on the journey back to self discovery. As such, the deliberate pacing may not be to everyone's taste but if you can appreciate the film the performances are brilliant particularly Harry Dean Stanton who must play a man that contains all of his guilt, doubts and emotions. If you can appreciate the films of Terence Malick ("Badlands", "Days of Heaven", "The New World" and "The Thin Red Line") you'll enjoy Wenders work which, at least superifically, has much in common with Malick's work.

"Paris, Texas" comes across as the visual equivalent of a tone poem; Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) mysteriously shows up after 4 years in the desert. Travis would claim to remember nothing about his past if he would speak--everyone assumes he's mute until they are able to contact his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) who with his wife has been raising Travis' son Hunter (Hunter Carson) as his own. Travis has returned to rediscover his life and undo the past as best he can including locating his estranged wife Jane (Natassja Kinski)who disappeared sending Travis on his own lost journey into Hades.

Based on stories written by actor/playwright Sam Shepard, adapted by L. M.
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