A man and his estranged wife, meet after a hiatus. They are on the opposite sides of a glass wall, one of those one-way mirrors. The man can see his wife - and in turn, face all the guilts of his past. The wife can only hear the man, and thus he remains as enigmatic and whimsical as ever. The setting is one of those places where lonely men can go to talk to women of their fantasies, over a phone, separated by the aforementioned glass wall. What other setting can be so unique for a reckoning like this, so intimate yet detached, so close yet so far. What brought the man and the woman there, is secondary. What matters is that they talk, about their past, and about their future.
Wim Wenders' striking portrayal of South Western Americana has been talked about in myriad ways, of how it is not just a tale of a family, but a culture and a country. I believe one such greatness of this film is how it doesn't judge the people in it, but is compassionate. It lets them exist, be humans: flawed, fragile, and staggering through the vast, unpredictable landscapes of their lives. No wonder America, its vast landscapes, and their craggy openness become a perfect canvas for this film. Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson's screenplay, Robby Muller's visuals, and Ry Cooder's music are the luscious pigments for this canvas. Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell, Aurore Clement, and Hunter Carson all display acting abilities to spread beyond the canvas; all surreal. But cinema is often so much more than a canvas, its a living, breathing art form. And this film, is a perfect example of that.
"Paris, Texas" is now streaming on Filmstruck, on the Criterion Channel.
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Atlantic City says so much about two people in a relationship, without saying too much.
A comedy that is fun, while being just good cinema in the first place.