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Sam Shepard
Short biography

Born at Fort Sheridan, Illinois (USA) on November 5, 1943. Famous dramatist in the United States, he won Pulitzer price in 1979 for his play Buried Child. Wrote more than forty plays and produced some of them. Was a drummer for years in an acid-rock band. Played also some great roles as actor especially in Days of Heaven by Terrence Mallick in 1978 and The Right Stuff in 1983 for which he is nominated for the Academy Awards. Wrote the screenplay of Paris, Texas for Wim Wenders in 1982.

Role in the film

He is the scriptwriter. At the genesis of the film, in addition of the fact that Wim Wenders wanted to work with Sam Shepard whose he appreciates the plays, there is the mixing of two books that Wim Wenders read: The Odyssey for the subject of the film and Motel Chronicles by Sam shepard for the frame and the poetry. Travis is a modern Ulysse lost in the American West and which should find his way. First the way of his family and then his own way. His slow return towards the civilization is an initiatory journey marked out by tests. At the beginning he is a thirsting animal lost in the desert. At the end he is a man who found alternately his brother, his son and his wife and who starts a new life to find himself. He has cured of his deep wound and assumed the failure of his couple which had drived him to leave a world in which he could not live any more with the woman he loved. [..."For five days he ran like this until every sign of man had disappeared"...]. The scenes of the peepshow at the end of the film, written with L.M. Kit Carson, show how the communication between beings is difficult. Jane and travis confess their passion with their back turned and behind a mirror. They do what they were to do four years earlier : talk to each other...

Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard at the «Tosca's» pub
in San Fransisco where he wrote the screenplay of Paris, Texas  (photo W.W.)

Extract from
Motel Chronicles

[...] His feet were sweating in the night. He could feel the presence of the automatic pistol, of cattle, of barbed wire, of dice, of riding the night range without a flashlight, of bars plunged into prairie night.

He turned off all the lights in the room and lay on the floor between the two beds. His feet were sweating. He punched the switch of the Realistic tape machine and Stevie Wonder answered the darkness: " Songs in the Key of Life. "

He watched an Apache Sand Painting appear on the wall out of nowhere. Co-lors from the land: pale orange sand, chocolate topsoil, pale blue like a tear.

He could see the glint of Abalone shim-mer off the pistol stock. Threads of rosy light. Spinning. He could see his own heart.

He could feel the demonic attachment of a man for his only woman. [...]

Wim Wenders
Short biography

Born on August 14, 1945 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Studied medicine and philosophy that he stops for the Cinema and Television Academy in Munich. At first films critic then founder of Filmverlag der Autoren in 1971, organization which helps to produce the young german film-makers. Set up at 30 years his own production company which he calls Road movies in reference to the kind of films he shoots : Alice in the cities (1974), False movement (1975) and Kings of the road (1976). Considered as one of the most brilliant directors of the independent cinema, he continues with The American friend in 1977, The state of things in 1981 and Hammett in 1982. Rewarded twice in Cannes with the golden palm 1984 for Paris, Texas and the price of the best direction 1987 for Wings of the Desire he reaches finally a wider audience. Then he directs especially Until the end of the world in 1991, Lisbon Story in 1994 and Buena Vista Social Club in 1999.

Role in the film

He is the director. With Paris, Texas Wim Wenders realizes his deep dream : shoot in America in the great and mythical landscapes seen in the western movies. And this time he is not going to speak about the death of the cinema or the americanization of the german culture but about a simple and true story between a man and a woman and he is going to give emotion. Of course we find again the favourite subjects of Wim Wenders : the mystery, the wandering and the filial love but this time the roadmovie takes place in the American West. This region which he photographed in 1983 during the location scouting of the film and he made a book of photos Written in the West. The film begins in the desert in Texas, a lunar landscape. A hawk lands on a cliff and the spectator goes into the film. The eagle observes a man walking alone in the desert. It is the principle of the subjective camera. One sees what the eagle - spectator sees. The man wears a city suit and a red cap and has a stubble. What can do a man dressed like this in such a place ? From there one wants to know, to understand why this man became like this. One wants to know his story, his past...
And to understand better the film it is necessary to look closer at settings because they inspired the story. So one finds there the signs of a distant past : old advertisement billboards, placards, graffitis, rusty carcasses, etc.

Wim Wenders [+]

Paris, Texas
Wim Wenders chose Paris, Texas as title of his movie by reading the United States Road Atlas but no scene was shot there !

Mythical landscapes
Big spaces, Big Bend's cliffs, railways and electric lines to infinity... Travis follows straight lines to run away !

Signs of a distant past
Rust, old panels, wind mill, car wrecks and graffitis...

That's America
Advertisements, motels, neons, big cars and Starwars...

Ry Cooder
Short biography

Born on March 15, 1947 in Santa Monica in California. At the age of four years he loses the sight of one eye during an accident. Very early he learns the guitar and assimilates bit by bit all the styles of American music especially the country, the blues, the r&b and the rock. Played as musician on several albums of The Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton. Then composed his own albums and his own film soundtracks until Wim Wenders wants to work with him for Paris, Texas in 1984 and The End of violence in 1997. More recently, he participated in the musical documentary Buena Vista Social Club in 1999.

Role in the film

He is the composer and musician of the soundtrack of the film. This stabbing and nostalgic music matches perfectly with the film. That's why Wim Wenders says that we have the feeling that the film was shot with a camera and a guitar! The technique used by Ry Cooder is the slide which allows to link two notes by sliding. The instrument used is a bottleneck, a small steel, brass or glass tube that the musician puts in his finger and makes slide on the strings of his guitar. The album Paris, Texas is now as known as the movie itself !

Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder and his musicians
Jim Dickinson and David Lindley

Extract from
"Paris, Texas"

1.Paris, Texas 2:56 [ 14s 229Ko]
2.Brothers 2:06
3.Nothing out There 1:30
4.Cancion Mixteca 4:17
5.No Safety Zone 1:55
6.Houston In Two Seconds 2:00
7.She's Leaving The Bank 5:56
8.On The Couch 1:28
9.I Knew These People 8:38
10.Dark Was The Night 2:50


Sharleen Spiteri and her friends watched Paris, Texas and loved it. That's why they decided to call their rock band TEXAS in tribute to the soundtrack. Their first album is generously influenced by the slide music of Ry Cooder...

Robby Muller
Short biography

Born on April 4, 1940 in the Netherlands Antilles. Goes to live in Amsterdam at the age of 13 years. Study in the Dutch Academy of the Cinema and becomes assistant cameraman. Filmed more than 50 films as director of photography and was several times rewarded for his work. Fellow traveller of Wim Wenders he shot notably with him Alice in the Cities in 1973, False Movement in 1974, Kings of the Road in 1976, The American Friend in 1977, Paris, Texas in 1984 for which he won an award, Until the End of the World in 1991 and Buena Vista Social Club in 1999. Then he shoots with the shoulder camera in Breaking The Waves by Lars Von Trier in 1996. And he works again with this director in Dancer in the Dark in 2000.

Role in the film

He is the director of photography. The care brought to the choices of the plans and the lights is evident. One recognizes well Robby Muller's style when he filmed Paris in The American Friend but this time the film is very colored. The reason, according to Wim Wenders, is the fact that "America after all is improbably colored". The colour which is present throughout the film and which was an artistic choice from the beginning is the red. Red as Travis's cap at the beginning of the film and the Jane's mohair dress in the peepshow. And the hyperrealistic treatment of the image adds to the natural magic of the landscapes and the filmed places. The adjustment of the lights in the peepshow's booth is a real technical challenge because in some scenes it was necessary to see at the same moment Jane and Travis in spite of the reflecting window !

Robby Muller

Travis's shirt, Hunter's pullover, Jane's car and dress, stairway of the peepshow : the red is a clue for Travis who gathers together his scattered family...

Glowing skies, halos of the car headlights and street-lamps transcend the magic of places and the moment...

Other members of the crew
L.M. Kit Carson

Story Adaptation
Peter Przygodda

Chris Sievernich

Executive Producer

. "Paris, Texas" - Script, photos and credits - ROAD MOVIES/GRENO - 1984
. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
. "Les cahiers du cinéma" - extra to n°400 - october 1987
. "Wim Wenders" - Michel Boujut - Champs Contre-Champs collection - Flammarion
. "Paris, Texas" - soundtrack by Ry Cooder - Warner Bros. Records Inc. - 1988

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Paris, Texas © 1984 Road Movies GmbH, Berlin - Argos Films, Paris.
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