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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 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 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 16, 2013
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 British distributors Axiom Films. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; "The Road to Paris, Texas", a collage of interviews with Wim Wenders, cinematographer Robby Muller, composer Ry Cooder, actors Harry Dean Stanton, Peter Falk, Dennis Hopper, and Hanns Zischler, director Samuel Fuller, author Patricia Highsmith, and film critic Kraft Wetzel conducted by director Paul Joyce; deleted scenes with optional commentary by Wim Wenders; footage from the Cannes Film Festival; and more. The release also arrives with a 24-page illustrated booklet featuring an interview with Wim Wenders, writings on the film by Sam Shepard, technical notes, and more. In English, with optional English 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 a 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 British distributors Axiom Films.
The high-definition transfer is virtually identical to the one Criterion used for their Blu-ray release of Paris, Texas in the U.S. -- and this is certainly great news because the telecine Criterion worked with was supervised by Wim Wenders. (Information included in the booklet provided with this release also confirms this as it clarifies that the high-definition transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from the original camera negative and then supervised and approved by Wim Wenders).
Detail is wonderful throughout the entire film, while during the darker nighttime footage clarity is very pleasing. However, as I noted in our review of the Criterion release, some of the most dramatic improvements are in the area of color reproduction. Instead of looking flat or fuzzy, colors are now natural and well saturated. Furthermore, there are no traces of excessive denoising. There are no traces of problematic sharpening corrections either. There are a couple of sequences where some extremely light halo attempts to sneak in, but even the well trained eyes will have a very difficult time spotting it while viewing the film. There are no large debris, cuts, or warps to report in this review. (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 English Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Axiom Films have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track is terrific. The lush guitar solos from what is arguably one of the greatest soundtracks done for a contemporary film sound quite incredible. Depth and clarity are also excellent. The dialog is clean, stable, and very easy to follow. There are no pops, cracks, hiss, or distortions to report in this review.
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Wim Wenders' wonderful Paris, Texas arrives rather late on Blu-ray in the United Kingdom, but this is without a doubt the very best Region-B release of the film that I have seen to date. It uses the approved by the German director high-definition transfer and offers a terrific selection of supplemental features. I want to specifically mention that this is also one very stylish looking Blu-ray release. Your collection cannot be complete without Paris, Texas, folks. I urge you to consider ordering a copy. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Paris, Texas Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Paris, Texas Blu-ray - October 23, 2012
Independent British distributors Axiom Films have revealed that they are planning to release on Blu-ray director Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas (1984), starring Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski and Dean Stockwell. The preliminary release date set by the distributors ...
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