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Paris, Texas (1984)

No Country for All Men — Written by lezard on 26.11.2019

It begins like a western movie. A desert under a scorching sun. A bird of prey. It goes on like a road-movie. Two men driving from Texas to L.A. Then it turns into a melodrama. Torn people, a family secret. Howewer, it's not a movie by John Ford, Monte Hellman or Douglas Sirk and the miracle is that this strange patchwork works out perfectly.
This is Paris-Texas, 10Th film by Wim Wenders and a great movie indeed!
The plot? A man comes out of nowhere. He meets his brother again. This latter has welcome his abandoned son. Together, they search for his long unheard of wife.
Where does this man come from? Why has he run away? What has happened?
These questions will be answered. The movie is a quest/inquest. It is also a tribute paid to different genres of American cinema, but these genres are revisited. As the title suggests it, there is also a European touch. It is a melting of two cultures and imaginations. The story starts in a border-place called Trelingua (3 languages).
The film constantly deals with origins, filiation, fatherhood, roots and routes. For it is also a journey. Travis, as his name says, is the one who travels. He travels through space but through the language too. He is the one who comes from silence (mute, at the beginning) and journeys to the story, the tale (the final scene).
The son is essential to this story. Once again the child is a father to Man. He is Hunter, the one who hunts for his mother. He has two fathers, two mothers. He is a bit lost.
We first discover Jane, the mother, through a super-8 movie. Vision of Paradise Lost. A moment of great emotion, which as Wenders shows it, can only be expressed by a silent movie, the movie of the origins, the one that doesn't need words to touch us.
The final meeting between Jane (Nastassja Kinski) and Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) is an awsome moment of cinema, some sheer genius in acting. She can't see him but he can. He can but doesn't stand the pain of seeing her which reopens a wound. He turns his back to her to be able to start speaking, and we listen, like children at bed-time in the dark, mesmerized by the power of story-telling.
As a modern cowboy Travis vanishes in the distance of the night, back to silence.

The movie was awarded the Palme d'Or.
The music by Ry Cooder is unforgettable.
You may emerge from this movie like Travis from the original desert. In this case, it will take you some time to have access to language.

Paris, Texas Reviews