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Paris, Texas

West Germany/France/Great Britain/USA 1984. Dir: Wim Wenders. 148 min. DCP

Character actor Harry Dean Stanton (who died in September) had his first-ever lead role in Wim Wenders’s moody existential odyssey, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and was a major art-house hit. Adapted by Sam Shepard (who died in July) and L. M. Kit Carson from Shepard’s “Motel Chronicles,” and set against the epic landscapes of the American Southwest. Paris, Texas casts Stanton as Travis, a drifter seeking to reconnect with his young son (Hunter Carson, Kit’s son) and find his estranged wife (Nastassja Kinski). Wenders had long wanted to make a film with Shepard, whose work has affinities with that of Austrian writer Peter Handke, a favourite Wenders collaborator. Featuring a haunting slide-guitar score by Ry Cooder, and masterly cinematography by Robbie Müller, whose visuals evoke both the paintings of Edward Hopper and the films of John Ford, Paris, Texas is one of Wenders’s finest achievements.


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REVIEWS

"My favourite Cannes winner ... [A] sweetly desolate desert flower of a film."

The Guardian | full review

"Wenders' collaboration with writer Sam Shepard is a master-stroke ... Pushes the frontier three steps forward into new and sublime territory."

Time Out | full review