DVD Release Date: Jan. 26
Director: Wim Wenders
Writer: Sam Shepard, L.M. Kit Carson
Cinematographer: Robby Müller
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell
Studio/Run Time: Criterion Collection, 147 mins.
Cinematic masterpiece reminds of Wenders’ bleak, unique vision of America
“You look like 40 miles of rough road,” esteems Walt Henderson (Dean Stockwell) after picking up his estranged brother in a Texas border town.
That rutted, haggard visage belongs to Harry Dean Stanton’s Travis Henderson, who has stumbled out of the desert after abandoning his family four years earlier.
In a career-redefining performance by Stanton, 1984’s epochal Palme d’Or-winning Paris, Texas also placed West German director Wim Wenders at the fore of the decade’s art-house cinema, a position later cemented by Wings of Desire. Harrowing yet nuanced, breath-catching and heart-rending, infused with a humanity rarely captured on celluloid, none of the film’s emotional power has dimmed in the last quarter-century. No wonder it was reportedly a favorite of everyone from Kurt Cobain to Elliott Smith, and an artistic touchstone for U2’s The Joshua Tree. This pristine new transfer by Criterion restores Müller’s washes of flashing red neon and green light, and re-reveals Wenders’ vision of an emotionally estranged America.