Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas ★★★★★

Still as revelatory as on the first watch. I've never fully realized it but when I saw this for the first time in the second year of art college, it made more of an impact on me than I realized at first. Because while it essentially tells a rather simple, mundane story it does so with the power of a master of cinema. No second is left unorganized. Every movement in this slowly meandering tale of love and loss is photographed with the precision of a renaissance painter. Wim Wenders presents his vision of the American Dream, his vision of dream for a perfect family, a perfect life in a way that feels at once true to the American Heart and as un-American as it can be. It drags out a life's story over the course of two and a half hours and lets the mysterious history and emotions of a single man sudder, slowly revealing the truth behind his silent nature. It is at once an acting masterclass by Harry Dean Stanton and a technical evocation of his acting in the lurid landscapes of Texas, his growing discomfort with facing the truth when he enters the statue-like city of Houston. In the rich cinematography of Robby Müller we see the colors green and red shine bright through the otherwise empty and grey imagery. They aren't big symbols because neither is the story a big one. Not for outsiders at least. It is the story of one man, his son and the search for the woman he loves. The imagery is something that simply signifies the change in course his life takes during the length of the film. It shows his discovery in the desert, how he slowly grows towards his son and finally finishes their story once and for all. It may not be a film with a grand new story to tell but it does tell it in a wholly unique and emotionally demanding way, using all that cinema allows us to, to show the importance of the grandest themes that haunt our daily lives, showing their undeniable importance as they get lost in the mists of time. Paris, Texas isn't a film that tells us anything new. It just reminds us of the importance of life so that we may never forget.

A masterpiece if there ever was one, firmly positioned in my top 20 of all time and, without a doubt, Harry Dean Stanton's finest performance ever put to screen. May he rest in peace.

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