Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984)
Number of Lists: 9
Lists Include: Spiritual, 1980s, Cannes, Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Criterion Collection.
The first thing that jumps out at me in this film are the performances. Harry Dean Stanton has an exceptional case of indieitis, that effort to play it so toned down and "natural" that it comes off entirely fake and a tad bit boring. Heck, for the first half-hour he doesn't even talk or really show emotion. Even after that point the emotional range is terribly limited. Yeah, character something something, it isn't interesting. I also want to pick out Aurore Clement, whose heavily accented English makes for some of the most stilted dialogue deliveries imaginable.
Ok, so I found the first hour (I may overestimate time) kind of painful and drawn out, but things do start to improve slightly as we get Travis attempting to reconnect with his son and eventually his wife. There's a definite visual craft here, particularly in the house of ill repute. Still, it remains so slow and the various "deep" discussions never quite sink below the surface to grab me in any lasting sense. They go on for so long that I keep wanting them to mean something. Related to its placement on top spiritual films, like a few of the others on that list I've talked about, I'm not sure I see the "spiritual" component here, but maybe I'm taking that too literally.