5 May 1999 | coop-16
Second American best film of the eighties
It might seem odd to call this an "American" film, as its director, Wim Wenders is a German film director, who , unlike his predecessors, Lang, Murnau, Pabst, Von Sternberg , and Billy Wilder, has chosen to remain aloof from the Hollywood film industry. But Paris Texas is as much an American film as Tocquevillle's "Democracy in America" is an American book. Sometimes it takes a foreigner ( In Wim Wenders' case, a foriegner who loves American music, American movies and American literature.) to look into the American soul. In this case,it helps that he is working with a great-and misunderstood- American writer, Sam Shephard, and a great-and under appreciated- American actor, Harry Dean Stanton. I can not begin to convey who poetic, how haunting, and how beautiful this film is, and how artfully it probes the American heart. The scene where Stanton confronts his wife, and tells what he did and why he did it, must rank among the supreme scenes, not just of film, but of human life. It echoed the great scenes of our literature, such as Ulysses meeting with Penelope, and the return of the prodigal son. In short, the only film which goes beyond it in the eighties is Raging Bull, and that is largely because of the volcanic power of Scorsese, that most self-crucifying of auteurs. in short, I would go so far as to say that Paris Texas is more than a "ten'...Like Citizen Kane, like 2001, like Andrei Roublev, like Raging Bull , like the Searchers, like Pickpocket, Tokyo Story, Seven Samurai and Ordet,it is an ELEVEN. Sublime AND beautiful.