Paris, Texas

Paris, Texas ★★★★★

Fucking incredible. There's something so fascinating about how non American directors (and writers) portray America. Between Nabokov and Wenders and their incredibly distinct and accurate portrayal of Americana as beautiful and depressing with a dark and angry underbelly, there is something powerful to watch as an American in how the strange culture of America (particularly how part of the country is simply vast expanses of nothing but gas stations and desert) is portrayed by people from other countries, perhaps with a removed enough eye to really bring a painful, surreal truth forward.

Of course, Paris, Texas is also written by an American playwright and actor, Sam Shepard, who brilliantly melds the power of the stage with the power of the cinema. The incredible scenes between Jane and Travis at the end of the film are prominently monologues and though Wenders makes these scenes utterly cinematic via the one sided window and its heart-rending visual tricks, these monologues would still be heartbreaking on the stage. I was reminded very much of Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll, which seems intentional due to Nastassja Kinski's hair, accent, and dress all being extremely reminiscent of Carroll Baker as Baby Doll. With Baby Doll's position as a liminal film in the space between stage and screen (even with the importance placed on interior and exterior locations it still feels very much like a play), with an older man who becomes an exciting source of adventure for the teenage Baby Doll, the comparisons between Paris, Texas and Baby Doll feel so similar to the point where Paris, Texas almost feels like a realist and tragic response. Baby Doll's ending is about sexuality ready to burst and the fun Baby Doll is eager to have. Paris, Texas is about when the novelty fades and responsibilities take precedent.

This movie is such a work of art. My mom came into the room where I was watching on two separate occasions and both times I was crying. My Secret Cinema person gave me such a great pick.

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