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Paris, Texas
Wim Wenders Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1984
It’s incredibly moving, and a great example of how extreme stylization and artifice can be combined with pure, genuine feeling. That combination is so strange and so paradoxical, and every time I see the film I surrender to it. It’s one of those films you can watch again and again and it will always be young. I guess that’s what a masterpiece is.
June 01, 2018
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Stanton, at the moment that he was ready to soar, was weighed down with an iconography that was neither his own nor as rich as the inner life that he pressed into its service. The best thing about “Paris, Texas” is the simple fact that Stanton is front and center throughout. But the role reduced him rather than filling him out, turning him into an icon rather than a performer.
September 28, 2017
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If you have any feeling for film, the first few shots of Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas (1984) will take you captive… The helicopter perspective in Paris, Texas would be entirely regal if the camera didn’t gently list from one side to the other. The whole movie is in that initial shot: continental scale and human frailty.
November 28, 2014
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Debuting at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, where it deservedly won the Palme d’Or, the film achieved the German director’s long sought fusion of the European personal film with classic American cinema’s preoccupations with male identity, the frontier and the ideology of romance.
October 06, 2014
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No wonder the Houston of Wenders’s movie (shot by his frequent cinematographer Robby Müller) seems so dream-like — a sanitized assemblage of concrete and limestone car parks; of banks and hotels veiled in shiny reflective glass; of neon-lit interiors that shimmer as if otherworldly. The streets are empty. We hear only the occasional whoosh of a passing car. In Wenders’s vision of the American metropolis, Houston is utopia and uchronia, a city that defies place and time.
July 26, 2012
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The middle section, depicting the slow reparation of Travis and Hunter’s severed bond, comes thrillingly close to perfection, with the progress of their relationship echoed visually by their surroundings as they travel from L.A. to the director’s beloved forgotten America. And then, just when I was ready to surrender my heart completely, it suddenly turns into a fucking Sam Shepard play.
August 18, 2011
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Paris, Texas is one of the most fully realized and exhilarating examples of this break [from the past]—which is ironic because it has none of the political ambitions of Oberhausen, and because it comes at the very end of the New German Cinema’s shelf life. Indeed, by the time he shot it, Wenders had moved a long way from Oberhausen, having already made two films in the United States.
January 27, 2010
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[It] evokes an America most Americans yearn to gaze on. An America as thorny and carnivorous as a hawk talon, as raw and smug as a downtown mural, and as sweetly enigmatic as a vacant lot that doesn’t—that can’t—exist.
January 24, 2010
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Rather than the usual rock ‘n’ roll that is so often in Wenders’ films, Ry Cooder’s haunting soundtrack stands alone, providing a perfect counterpoint to Müller’s evocative imagery.
July 19, 2002
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While far from being Wim Wenders’s best film, this 1984 collaboration with Sam Shepard, about a speechless wanderer (Harry Dean Stanton) returning from the desert and trying to resume relationships with his abandoned and scattered family, has an epic sweep (with superb color photography by Robby Müller) that occasionally brings the movie within hailing distance of its outsized ambitions.
April 01, 1988
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The watcher needs to stay distant, but he runs two risks by keeping its distances: coldness and mannerism. Wenders hasn’t always avoided them. But what saves him from his own ease, is his certitude (strongest than ever in his last film) that there must be one distance (and only one) from which each thing (men and landscapes) appears not only as strangely “distanced” but as the affectionate promise of a secret.
September 20, 1984
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