Paris, Texas ★★★★★

I can't believe a German filmmaker made this, because Paris, Texas feels so genuinely American to me, and this isn't anything but a compliment. I've never been to the States before, but if anyone asked me what movie just made me want to visit that country, it would be Paris, Texas. There's something about the world portrayed in Paris, Texas that's just so serene, beautiful, and bittersweet. It doesn't feel like Travis's story starts at the start of the film and ends at the end, but it feels more like a snapshot of the lives of Travis and his family. A capturing of that lost love, that remembrance of it; his son, his wife, and his experiences. He sees it first through that Super 8 film, and then he sees it with his own eyes in reality. The story we see here is almost like a very small snippet of that life, and when the film ends it seems to strip away at me, bit by bit, as my heart feels like it's slowly being ripped away from my body; not with something aggressive like a strong tug, but rather a light pull on it, causing this bittersweet feeling that I can't really describe except in that it feels like bliss.

From the large and sprawling desert somewhere in Texas, to the suburbs of Los Angeles, to downtown Houston, every location in this film seems to have its own identity; it feels alive in a way that I don't know if I'll ever understand. It's almost as if Wim Winders just asked the buildings, sand, and streetlights to just come alive, and they just did. It feels as if as if the sets were not meticulously prepared for shooting, but rather just that even if the film was never being shot in that place, the place would've looked the exact same way, at that exact same time. It feels so natural, as if everything in the world of Paris, Texas was real. Living and breathing. And I think that's what makes this film so special.

Because of that genuine feeling that this film gives out, it makes everything so heartbreaking and so poetic. A film about forgiveness, about reflection, about memories, and about nostalgia. It's about meeting your son for the first time in 4 years. It's about living a life that you haven't lived in a long time. It's about looking back into the past and feeling happiness, but also an intense sorrow and regret buried beneath that happiness too. And maybe, that past isn't so important anymore. Because we can look into that past and remember it all we want, but for now, all we can do is focus on the present and look forward into the future. And maybe one day, we can return to that forsaken place, that Paris, Texas.

Wim Wenders Ranked
Top 50

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