Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas ★★★★★

Not Another 30 Day Film Challenge: Day Eighteen, A Film that Makes you Cry.

I tried to talk out loud to you like I used to, but there was nothing there. I couldn't hear you. Then... I just gave it up. Everything stopped. You just... disappeared. And now I'm working here. I hear your voice all the time. Every man has your voice.

Wim Wenders' astounding achievement left me stunned and without words after I had finished watching it. The sheer beauty of the film as a whole just knocked me out. I definitely was not expecting this film to be as gorgeous as it was when I first watched it, and when I first came to Letterboxd, I was surprised to find out just how popular it is among other users. It would appear that I wasn't alone in my observation, and that this is definitively one of the best films of the 1980's, and one of the greatest films ever made.

In Wenders' masterpiece, Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis Henderson, a man who has been wandering the desert in southern Texas for four years, disappearing from his estranged wife, son, and brother. When his brother finally discovers him out there, he brings him back home, and tries to help him get back to his normal life. But Travis has a deeper desire. It's clear that this man has some regrets in his life, but what has he done to make him unable to speak? What traumatic event could have possibly happened between him and his family to make him walk away from everyone like that? Paris, Texas is a gorgeous exploration of this mystery, and a beautiful depiction of a man desperate to reconnect with his former life.

The beauty within Paris, Texas is Wenders' incredible ability to make the film feel real. Filmmakers strive for a true sense of realism in most of their films, and Paris, Texas goes above and beyond what any other filmmaker has done before and since then. Never before have I felt such empathy for the protagonist of a film like Travis, and Stanton's brilliant emotional performance jettisons this character up to one of my personal favorites.

Wim Wenders has an amazing filmography. Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire, heck even Pina 3D is great in its own right. It's a shame that I haven't seen most of his other films, but at least I can still say without a doubt that Paris, Texas is his crowning achievement. His heartbreakingly realistic drama brings tears to my eyes each time I watch it, and I'm hard-pressed to find a film of his I love more than this one. It's simply a beautiful film, littered with gorgeous shots of Texas landscape, conveying the beauty of the American land. Back this up with knockout performances and a gripping story, and you get one of the greatest independent dramas ever made. An astounding achievement for Wim Wenders, and one of the greatest pieces of independent cinema ever made.

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