Wenders, Wim - Paris, Texas
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Paris, Texas is a 1984 road movie directed by Wim Wenders and starring Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski, and Hunter Carson. The screenplay was written by L.M. Kit Carson and playwright Sam Shepard, while the distinctive musical score was composed by Ry Cooder. The film was a co-production between companies in France and West Germany, and was shot in the United States by Robby Müller.
The plot focuses on an amnesiac named Travis (Stanton) who, after mysteriously wandering out of the desert, attempts to reunite with his brother (Stockwell) and seven-year-old son (Carson). After reconnecting with his son, Travis and the boy end up embarking on a voyage through the American Southwest to track down Travis' long-missing wife (Kinski).
At the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Palme d'Or from the official jury, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. It went on to win other honors and critical acclaim..............
West German director Wim Wenders had travelled to the United States and stated he wished "to tell a story about America". The film is named for the Texas city of Paris, but not set there in any scene. Instead, Paris is referred to as the location of a vacant lot owned by Travis that is seen in a photograph, and is used as a metaphor. Wenders had taken photographs like it while location scouting in the western U.S. earlier in his career, photographing locations such as Las Vegas and Corpus Christi, Texas.........................
Wenders said the film shot in only four to five weeks, with only a small group working the last weeks, very short and fast. There was a break in shooting during which time the script was completed. Filmmaker Allison Anders worked as a production assistant on the film. Filming largely occurred in Fort Stockton and Marathon in the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas. The film marked Wenders' first time avoiding storyboarding completely, going straight to rehearsals on location before shooting.
Shooting already started in 1983 when the screenplay was still incomplete, with the objective of filming in the order of the story. Shepard planned to base the rest of the story their understanding of the characters and observations of the actors. However, when Shepard moved on to another job, he sent Wenders notes on how the screenplay should end instead. Shepard credited Wenders and L. M. Kit Carson with the idea of a peep show and the story's final acts. The filmmakers opted not to portray a realistic peep show, as they needed a format that allowed for more communication between the characters. Kinski could not see anyone, only a mirror, in the peep show scenes, and said this created a genuine feeling of solitude.
Challenges arose when the film ran short of finances, but Wenders was encouraged when they completed the scene with Kinski, remarking, "it dawned on me that we were going to touch people in a big way. I was a little scared by the idea"