Paris, Texas Review


It would be fair to say that, as a viewer, I’m pretty wary of watching films that I think will push me out of my comfort zone. Preferring to sit on the sofa and doze off to one of the Harry Potter films than actually try something new that might broaden my intellectual and cinematic horizons, I often refuse point-blank to watch anything that might be considered a ‘cinematic masterpiece’ for fear of actually having to absorb information and unravel cultural references that I can’t make sense of. This being said, when I semi-reluctantly turned up at the first Film Society event of the year with the intention of having a few drinks with my friends and pretty much ignoring everything that was on screen, I found myself inexorably pulled into the strangely beautiful story of Wim Wender’s Paris, Texas. After sitting with my eyes glued to the screen for the full 150 minutes of running time, I had to conclude that it was on of the best films that have ever seen. Here, in as intelligible a way as is possible, I will try and explain why.


The film opens with ragged but determined man wandering through the desert, like a modern-day John the Baptist. He finishes what is presumably the last of his water, and looks behind him at vultures in the cloudless sky, before continuing on to a run down bar, where he promptly collapses. This opening could be mistaken for a surrealist dream sequence. The wide-open plains and endless blue sky looks like the backdrop to a Dali painting, and you can sense an absence of time; we don’t know whether this man