Paris, Texas (1984)
Director: Wim Wenders
Writers: L.M. Kit Carson (adaptation), Sam Shepard
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, Dean Stockwell
Travis Henderson, an aimless drifter who has been missing for four years, wanders out of the desert and must reconnect with society, himself, his life, and his family.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Like the weight of the world was on your shoulders? Like the expectations others have of you are stressing everything out of your soul? Feeling that you are not ready for adult life, for marriage, for parenthood? Like you just want to quit everything and just go into the wild? To a place where no one knows your name or your face? I admit, I’ve had moments when I wanted to do that. But I didn’t do that. Travis, however, did.
In Paris, Texas, Travis, the protagonist, is found at a god forsaken clinic in the middle of the Mojave desert, after having vanished more than 4 years prior. After being picked up by his brother and taken back to Los Angeles, Travis must find a way to adapt to a life he ran away from. Also, he must deal with the fact that his son no longer considers him a father, but rather like a distant stranger, a faint memory from his past. While on the road to redemption, Travis must try to earn the trust of his son by reuniting him with his long lost mother.
Although it may seem tedious in the beginning, with a lack of emotion to start with, over time, you start to understand where the film is headed. You get to understand why Travis did what he did, what inner demons made him run away and where his road to redemption will lead.
Another thing that caught my eye is the title of the film. Although it is not a reference to the city in France, it is a symbol of hope. Paris is a small town in Texas where Travis bought some land with the hopes of building a house for his family. When he is found after wandering in the desert for years, the only thing that he has on him is a picture of the land he bought. Even in his darkest hours, Travis still held on to the dream that one day his family may have a home.
In the end, this is a film about redemption and accepting to live with yourself. And let’s be frank, living with the thought that you hurt deeply the ones you love the most is the hardest thing to do.