Paris, Texas (1984)

Wim Wenders directs Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski and Dean Stockwell in this drama where a missing brother turns up in the desert, near mute and bedraggled, looking for his family.

I was too young first time I watched this one (read: it bored me). Paris, Texas patiently shifts from road movie to father / son romance to detective story to confessional. All the time it feels like a celebration of Americana from an alien viewpoint. The billboards, the LA city lights, the highways, drive thru banking, nudie booths. Wenders picks away at the landscape of the States without destroying it or disassembling it. Like Harry Dean Stanton’s character by the end, we know what happened to him, we relate to him on a surface level but he remains an enigma. Just you because you explore something, get lost in it, recognise it doesn’t mean you’ll ever understand it. What’s true for America is true for Travis in his red cap and desert beaten suit. Stanton is fantastic here and Stockwell and Kinski support him with career best turns. Slow… a mood piece… without easy answers even when we reach a kinda resolution.


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