Monday 24 November 2008

Paris, Texas [1984]

Paris, Texas ranks as the best film by celebrated German filmmaker Wim Wenders, and is often counted among the finest movies ever made. This is a marvelous road movie that delves into spiritual, post-modernist and psycho-analytical issues. The vast American landscape with its neon billboards, long uninterrupted highways and vast uncharted territories has been wonderfully employed to depict human alienation where communication has become a difficult parameter. Right from its lazily captivating opening sequence, where a mysterious looking man without any name or identity is seen wandering about the Texan deserts, the director keeps us enthralled. Soon we come to know that he has been missing for the last four years and has a young son who is being looked after by his thoroughly Americanized brother and his wife. But the reasons for his sudden disappearance are revealed only at the end through the now legendary one-way glass monologue. Like Alice in the Cities, another majestic road movie by Wenders, here too the complex relationship between a disenchanted adult and an exuberant child plays at the forefront of the movie. Harry Dean Stanton, as the melancholic, taciturn and deeply human protagonist Travis, is brilliant in his understated portrayal; and so is the performance of the kid who plays his young son slowly getting to connect with his father. The long, evocative camera shots and the minimalist acoustic guitar riffs play vital roles in presenting a poetic tale of loneliness, lost love and home-coming.

Director: Wim Wenders
Genre: Drama/Road Movie
Language: English
Country: Germany/US


nitesh said...

Personally, it rarely happens that an acting takes over my notion of watching or reading film usually from an auteur perspective, but I guess sometimes acting just empowers the text, images or the sound too, that the auteur himself could not foresee, for example I felt the same tension when watching Balraj Sahani in Do Bigha Zameen or Harvey Kietel in Bad Lieutenant. Similarly, the performance by Harry Dean Stanton is brilliant.

Beside Robby Muller is one of the greatest cinematographer alive today and this is certainly one of his rare masterpiece in color else he is certainly the god of black and white photography.

Shubhajit said...

Quite a few movies come to my mind where a stellar acting performance has enormously added upon the auteur's vision and genius - be it Robert De Nero in Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Jack Nicholson in Polanski's Chinatown, or Soumitra Chatterjee in Ray's Aranyer Din Ratri. There is indeed no doubting the fact that movies by even the master directors are usually as good as the acting performances. This may probably attributed to a great director's ability to somehow extract the best from his crew.