And with his 1984 masterpiece Paris, Texas, Wenders truly explored that sense of saudade, and in turn, doing what Pina had done for him, to me. Even without words or direct dialogue, that film taught me more about men and women and the struggle to love and the pain in knowing love is not quite enough, than anything else I had ever seen. Of course, this can also be attributed to the story which comes from Sam Shepard, who has made a career exploring the duality that lives within ourselves. And recently, I came across a video that takes Travis’ “I Knew These People” voiceover and places it over the home movie Super 8 sequence that usually just plays with Ry Cooder’s “Cancion Mixteca.”
The amalgamation of these two things nearly broke my heart in half. It’s an even more beautiful and devastating look at the relationship of two people deeply and corrosively in love whose own struggles with identity and existence obscure their ability to fully commit to one another. A friend and I both made the same connection that clips like this make films like To the Wonder seem so hollow and disposable. This brief clip feels more powerful than the entirety of that film, speaking more about the strain of loving another and struggling to understanding the essence of being in a way that buries itself inside you and never leaves.
Looking Back at the World of Wim Wenders’ ‘Paris, Texas’
What makes Paris, Texas and all of Wim’s work so special is that it is filled with so much yearning and so much restlessness; people aching so badly to find what it is they’re looking for. They’re all so hungry for love and connection and something to make them feel alive. Some of them find it in others and then some of them realize even if they did—would it even make them feel better? Or are they destined to eternally feel that hole inside? Travis leaves Jane and Hunter in the end because he knows putting together the pieces of the past won’t put him back together. He’s ripped apart we’ll never know why. None of us do. Wenders’ also expressed that, “hotels room have a real magic because you feel yourself, who you are in a different way and in an anonymous hotel room than you would ever be able to at home.” His films all live in transient places like motels where everyone’s face changes from moment to moment—and in a way that’s more comforting than feeling sorrow in the comfort of stability.
Cinematic Panic: Longing Endlessly with Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas
Or, you know, if you’re a lady with blonde hair (or a wig) and any sort of pink fuzzy sweater, find someone clad in a red shirt and cowboy hat to accompany you for the Halloween night. But only communicate through mirrors/walls/insulation. Use your words sparingly.
Actually, I was going to make a far more complex film, because I’d originally intended to drive all over America. I had it in mind to go to Alaska and then the Midwest and across to California and then down to Texas. I’d planned a real zigzag route all over America. But my scriptwriter, Sam Shepard, persuaded me not to. He said: “Don’t bother with all that zigzagging. You can find the whole of America in the one state of Texas.” At the time, I didn’t know Texas all that well, but I trusted Sam. I traveled around Texas for a couple of months, and I had to agree with him. Everything I wanted to have in my film was there in Texas—America in miniature.
A lot of my films start off with road maps instead of scripts. Sometimes it feels like flying blind without instruments. You fly all night, and in the morning you arrive somewhere. That is: you have to try to make a landing somewhere so the film can end.
Hunter Henderson: August Style Icon.