Monday, 8 August 2016

Visual & Sound Diary: Paris, Texas

To romanticise loneliness is a guilty pleasure, a sweet and shameful joy. Paris, Texas, a slow-burning mediation on the luxuries of isolation and escape, is a film of retrospective melancholy, flooded with a ripe air of mystery, implicit devastation and so exquisitely focused on detail, motion and silence. Wim Wenders is not the kind of filmmaker to stitch on superfluous super 8 camera footage simply to instill some forged sense of nostalgia. He uses every mechanism and technical nuance of cinema to capture the missing and unattended parts of a story told so often. The beauty lies in the strangely traditional nature of its background story for Paris, Texas illustrates the many moments long after a crisis and its spectacular events has occurred. Redemption feels almost irrelevant and in this, the characters are at ease in speaking openly and honestly. Told through a passage of visuals, the picture consists almost purely of a collection of single frames featuring single subjects on assorted landscapes. It implores the audience to reach for inferences and make our own conclusions. As the film is principally devoid of event, it settles for the ghost of drama and the romantic affliction which the biased retelling accompanies.

As Travis Henderson wanders out of the desert and into civilisation, pieces of a functional past life fall into his lap: a son, a lover, a family, a holiday, a mysterious conflict unknown or  suppressed from memory. To say more would unjustly draw the potency away from the story. If you can sit and watch and wait for the layers of the story to peel back and reveal the drama at its core, you will no doubt we awarded with a ghostly piece of poetry. Dutch Director of Photography, Robby Müller, complements the stark and eerie melodies of a score filled with the sharp bottleneck guitar strings with illusory imagery of the wide expanse of the baron landscape. He plays with light, particularly the iconic neons of the archetypal hot American desert dream. The film carries with it the painful kind of profound that resonates with the viewer, impeaches on whatever personal woes we carry, evoking, without falsehood or exploitation, intimate memory and sentiment.


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