Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton), an aimless drifter, wanders out of the desert after a mysterious four-year absence. After his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell), finds him in southern Texas, he brings Travis back home with him to Los Angeles to reunite with his young son Hunter (Hunter Carson). After reconnecting with his son, Travis sets out to find his missing wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), to try to put his life back together.
I wanted to see him so bad that I didn’t even dare imagine him anymore.
The 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival wraps today, and soon we’ll find out which film is honored with the Palme d’Or. The award has been given to many excellent films over the years, including this month’s Blind Spot pick, Paris, Texas. The year this film received the coveted festival prize, it was unanimously voted as the winner by the jury (headed by one of my favorite actors, Dirk Bogarde), and after watching it, it’s not hard to see why it was easily given the Palme d’Or. I’d seen countless of its beautifully composed images prior to finally seeing the film and really didn’t know what to expect from it, especially with a running time of nearly two and a half hours. And while I’m picking beloved, acclaimed films with my Blind Spot choices, and it sometimes results in the chosen films not quite living up to my expectations, this was fortunately not at all the case with Paris, Texas. In fact, it’s one of the rarer instances for me when a film with such a bigger stature among critics and cinephiles really exceeded my expectations.
Though this isn’t a fast-paced film, it’s hardly noticeable how slow some scenes are because of how engrossing the content is, even if there isn’t a word of dialogue being spoken in a given scene. That’s partly due to Robby Müller’s breathtaking cinematography filled with vivid colors, as well as an incredible central performance by Harry Dean Stanton, who often says more in his facial expressions than in speech. Under the direction of German filmmaker Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas has a great simplicity to it that gives a beautiful outlook of the American West while meditating on familial intertwinings.
Paris, Texas (1984)
Directed by: Wim Wenders
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clément, Hunter Carson
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