PARIS, TEXAS (1984)
German director Wim Wenders' PARIS, TEXAS is a gorgeous work of art that is done justice by Criterion's recent DVD release of the 1984 film. The story follows Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) as he wanders Texas, lost, mute, silent, and unwilling to cooperate with anyone, including his long-lost brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) who, after receiving a phone call from a doctor in the middle of the desert, comes from LA to bring his nomadic sibling home. Eventually Walt breaks through to Travis, and Travis begins to attempt to reconnect with his family which he walked out on 4 years prior, including a young son that Walt as taken care of like his own. Travis returns with Walt to LA in search of the meaning of what it is to be a man, a father, brother, and a husband. Wenders' poetic and patient film is epic in scope, yet simple in concept. It's also incredibly easy to watch. The imagery is gorgeous, the acting is stunning, and Sam Shepard's script is wonderfully rich and genuine. It's also a dramatic film with some humourous parts, but with no giant stresses, which I find to be a total relief from the panic and tension that the majority of filmmakers assume means entertainment. It's also fun to watch Stanton and Stockwell act in some really meaty roles, because they are both incredibly talented actors. Stanton doesn't even speak for the first 40 or so minutes of the film, yet his face and behaviour say volumes to the emotional torture and toil the man has inflicted on himself. Along with his fabulous WINGS OF DESIRE, this film is recommended if you are interested in what the highly skilled contemporary German filmmakers have been up to in the past decades. Gorgeously done!