XL Popcorn – Paris, Texas

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 832/1007Title: Paris, Texas
Director: Wim Wenders
Year: 1984
Country: Germany/France

In the last three months, I haven’t exactly been able to deal with much emotionally. I haven’t really been watching films other than those I already had a relationship with and figured would be safe… and yet I still managed to have a very bad anxiety attack in the middle of Cars. 

However, I know back from my post-teaching breakdown that movies were the way I carved out a path to emotional stability once again. A week after I hit emotional rock bottom, I did a double bill of Tokyo Story and Autumn Sonata and they helped me to feel again. Paris, Texas is the beginning of this journey for me as the first new film that I have seen as part of my own emotional recovery – and it was a such an exquisite choice.

As much as I love movies (and given just how many of them I have seen) I am not always too sharp at remarking on how shots are constructed because I go into a movie to feel rather than to view. With Paris, Texas it was next to impossible to not notice how stunning this film looks. The pastel palate of the desert landscapes, the beautifully lit late night motels and the vibrant reds of our first introduction to the pivotal character of Jane. The cinematography is some of the best that I have ever seen.

The film also found a way to make palatable one of my most hated story tropes – the absent father making good. It’s worth noting that the ‘making good’ at the end is different than I have ever seen it, which helps, but the real difference was that the reunited father-son relationship isn’t forced. They feel each other out on almost their own terms, which makes their scenes in the second half of the film feel properly earned… even if it is a shade away from kidnapping.

As much as I was liking this film, it was the final two scenes that really made me realize just how special this was and how glad I was to have this as my return to the 1001. The way that they filmed the isolated reunion in the peep show was masterful. Both performances were exceptional with the framing of the shot being more like visiting day at the prison rather than long lost lovers.

Don’t know where I am going from here on the film list, but at least for now I am feeling ready to start back up on it again. Hopefully the update hasn’t shaved too many films off o my total.

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