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Paris, Texas follows the efforts of the mysterious, nearly mute drifter Travis to reconnect with his young son, living with his brother in Los Angeles, and his missing wife.
For more about Paris, Texas and the Paris, Texas Blu-ray release, see Paris, Texas Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 10, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Wim Wenders
Writers: Sam Shepard, L.M. Kit Carson
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski, John Lurie (I), Bernhard Wicki, Aurore Clement
» See full cast & crew
Paris, Texas Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 10, 2011
Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or and FIPRESCI awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders' "Paris, Texas" (1984) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Arte Video. The supplemental features on the disc include deleted scenes with commentary by director Wim Wenders; the film's original French theatrical trailer; and a conversation with director Wim Wenders. The disc also arrives with a 14-page illustrated booklet. In English, with optional French and French SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
A man, Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton, Cockfighter), who has been missing for four years, suddenly appears in a vast Texas desert. He collapses in a rundown bar where a German doctor (Bernhard Wicki, La note) picks him up. He immediately phones the man's brother, Walt Henderson (Dean Stockwell, Married to the Mob), who lives in Los Angeles.
Walt picks up Travis and the two head back to Los Angeles. He begins asking Travis all sorts of different questions, but his brother refuses to speak. Walt gets frustrated and tells Travis that he's had enough of his game.
Travis finally responds to a few of Walt's questions. He confesses to him that for the last four years he has been...walking. He also shows Walt a picture of Paris, Texas. This is the place where many years ago their parents made love for the first time; their mother told him so. Travis now owns a small piece of land there.
In Los Angeles Travis meets Walt's wife, Anne (Aurore Clément, Pretend I'm Not Here), and his son, Hunter (Hunter Carson), who has no memories of him. Travis does not know how to react; neither does his son. Slowly but surely, however, the two warm up to each other. Eventually, Travis tells Hunter that he has to go to Huston where, apparently, his ex-wife and Hunter's mother (Nastassja Kinski, An American Rhapsody) lives. His son asks if he could join him.
Written by Sam Shepherd and directed by Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas may well be the most American film ever made by a non-American director. It is a deeply emotional character study of a man and region done with terrific emphasis on detail. In a way, it is also a political film, one that examines American values as well as the manner in which Americans communicate their feelings.
There are two key characters in Paris, Texas. The first is Travis, the heartbroken loner who embarks on an endless journey through the deserts of the American South, hoping to forget the woman he loves. When we first meet him, it appears that he has almost succeeded. Travis has literally become numb to the world.
The presence of the second character - the American South - is what transforms Paris, Texas into an unforgettable experience. Though Travis' struggle to rebuild his life and reconnect with the people that once made it worth living is deeply moving, it is America's countryside that will steal your heart. Like Travis, the land looks incredibly lonely, numbed by the scorching heat, perhaps also lost. Real people live there, but time seems to have forgotten them.
It is fascinating to see that a German managed to capture so persuasively a part of America that even today many Americans are largely unfamiliar with. Every scene, object and color in director Wenders' Paris, Texas adds convincingly to a fascinating portrait of an area with a unique pulse and culture.
Paris, Texas also benefits from a music soundtrack, courtesy of Ry Cooder, that is amongst the best ever composed for a motion picture. Cooder's opening track - an outstanding blues-drenched guitar solo - literally amalgamates all of the complex emotions Paris, Texas is infused with.
In 1984, Paris, Texas won the prestigious Palme d'Or and FIPRESCI awards at the Cannes Film Festival. A year later, the film won the Critics Award for Best Foreign Film granted by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, and the BAFTA Film Award for Best Direction.
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Arte Video.
A small note included with this release indicates that the high-transfer was supervised by director Wim Wenders. And, indeed, a direct comparison with Criterion's Blu-ray release of Paris, Texas reveals practically identical technical characteristics -- fine object detail is very good, clarity pleasing, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. The color-scheme is identical to that of the Criterion Blu-ray release as well; I could not see any major discrepancies to report in this review. To me, the variety of reds, greens, blues, yellows, browns, and blacks look the same. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern, though selected scenes almost create the impression that mild traces of it are indeed present. Generally speaking, the film's grain structure is intact, but I must speculate that at least some minor noise corrections might have been applied to the actual master Criterion and now Arte Video have used for their transfers. Lastly, though the two look practically identical, it seems like compression is just a tiny bit better on the Criterion release. Regardless, Arte Video's release is a great alternative for those of you who reside in Region-B territories. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Arte Video have provided optional French and French SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is excellent, and I can only echo my comments from my review of the Criterion Blu-ray release of Paris, Texas - Ry Cooder's legendary score sounds fantastic. The moody guitar solos have never sounded this good, and if you are about to see Paris, Texas for the very first time on Blu-ray, you are in for a very special treat. Additionally, the dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. I also did not detect any pops, cracks, hissings, or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If you reside in a Region-B territory and have not been able to take advantage of Criterion's Region-A "locked" Blu-ray release of Wim Wenders' legendary Paris, Texas, this French Blu-ray release, courtesy of Arte Video, is something you might want to consider - it uses the same supervised by director Wim Wenders high-definition transfer. Criterion's Blu-ray release, however, has a number of exclusive supplemental features. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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