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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 the Paris, Texas Blu-ray Review
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Nastassja Kinski, John Lurie
Director: Wim Wenders
» See full cast & crew
Paris, Texas Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 5, 2010
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 Criterion. Amongst the supplemental features on the disc are: an audio commentary with director Wim Wenders; "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; interviews with Claire Denis and Allison Anders; deleted scenes and Super 8 footage; trailer and more. Criterion have also included a 46-page illustrated booklet containing Nick Roddick's essay On the Road Again; interviews with Sam Shepard, Nastassja Kinski, Harry Dean Stanton, and Dean Stockwell; and excerpts from the preface to "Written in the West", a collection of photographs which Wim Wenders took in 1983 while location-scouting for Paris, Texas. English-friendly. Region-A "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 director Wim Wenders' preferred 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 Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Supervised and approved by director Wim Wenders, this new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from the original 35mm camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Telecine supervisors: Lee Kline, Wim Wenders.
Telecine colorists: Joe Gawler/Deluxe New York; Kerstin Kellner/CinePostproduction, Berlin."
Fine object detail is terrific, contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film, and clarity outstanding. The most impressive upgrade, however, is with the color-scheme. I've seen Paris, Texas more than a dozen times, and I don't recall ever seeing such incredibly vibrant colors. Many of the panoramic vistas are simply breathtakingly beautiful. Edge enhancement and macroblocking are not a serious issue of concern with this transfer. You won't have to worry about aliasing, ringing, or excessive denoising either. Paris, Texas has a natural and very filmic look that should please even the most demanding amongst film aficionados. Finally, there are absolutely no disturbing flecks, cuts, scratches, warps, dirt, or debris that I noticed while viewing the film. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free player in order to access its content).
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Presented in a surround format, the soundtrack was remixed under the supervision of the director using the original audio stems. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD."
The DTS-HD Master Audio track Criterion have provided certainly does not disappoint. Ry Cooder's fantastic score sounds great - the guitar solos are richer, fuller and a lot more effective here. On the other hand, the dialog is remarkably crisp, clean and easy to follow. There are no balance issues to report. There are no annoying clicks, pops, cracks, or hiss that I noticed either.
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Commentary - an audio commentary with director Wim Wenders. This is a very technical commentary, one that focuses on a number of the film's key scenes, the specific locations used for them, the preparation efforts, etc.
Wim Wenders - an interview with the director conducted by German journalist Roger Willemsen in 2001. In German, with optional English subtitles. (29 min, 1080i).
The Road to Paris, Texas - 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 in 1989 by director Paul Joyce for Lucida Productions. (43 min, 1080i). In English, not subtitled.
Claire Denis and Allison Anders - Claire Denis and Allison Anders, who would go on to become renowned directors in their own right, served as first assistant director and production assistant, respectively, on Paris, Texas. Denis appears here in conversation with critic Kent Jones. And as part of her discussion, Anders reads from the diary she kept during the film's production. These interviews were filmed in October 2009. (47 min, 1080p).
Cinema cinemas - this segment from the French television program Cinema cinemas, "Wim Wenders Hollywood April '84, " features Wim Wenders and composer Ry Cooder working on the score for Paris, Texas. It was directed by Claude Ventura and first broadcast on April 2, 1984. In French, with optional English subtitles. (13 min, 1080i).
Deleted Scenes and Super 8 - a collage of deleted scenes from Paris, Texas with an optional commentary by director Wim Wenders (24 min, 1080i) and Super 8 footage set to music (7 min, 1080i).
Galleries - two galleries: "Written in the West" (containing photos from director Wim Wenders' journey through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California in 1983) and "Robin Holland".
Trailer - (3 min, 1080i).
Booklet - a 46-page illustrated booklet containing Nick Roddick's essay On the Road Again; interviews with Sam Shepard, Nastassja Kinski, Harry Dean Stanton, and Dean Stockwell; excerpts from the preface to "Written in the West", a collection of photographs which Wim Wenders took in 1983 while location-scouting for Paris, Texas; and technical information about the Blu-ray.
Paris, Texas Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
This is yet another fantastic release by Criterion. Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas looks breathtakingly beautiful in high-definition, and Ry Cooder's legendary score has never sounded this good. The Blu-ray disc also contains a number of excellent supplemental features. Absolutely, Paris, Texas gets our HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.
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 ...
• Criterion New Year's Card Hints at Upcoming Blu-ray Titles - January 1, 2010
The Criterion Collection asked resident “wacky” artist, Jason Polan, to help them ring in the New Year. The result is a cryptic e-card that features numerous obscure references to upcoming titles. Members of the blu-ray.com forum and other boards have tried to ...
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