I started out as a painter and some of that has survived in me. And I’ve always thought that films — the very thing, movies — have been invented in the first place to witness the twentieth century. I’ve always been very attracted to documentaries, but have always thought that feature films are in a way the true documents of our time. Especially when they’re outrageous fantasies, like, let’s say, Hitchcock’s Vertigo. If somebody 500 years from now happened to find Vertigo, they’d have a pretty clear notion of what America looked like in 1958. This is a very important component of filmmaking: even if a film is sheer fantasy—film is unique because no other form can do that—it’s also a document of the time it was made. And I do like straight documentaries a lot. Though it’s something of a lost form, because television has taken over so much. But I think it’s extremely healthy, a kind of therapy for anyone who tries to tell stories, to go out and have nothing to tell, no story, no fiction, and try to find the right way to represent something. I very much insist that this is part of my work.
I didn’t see anything anymore that was really trying to redefine a relation between life and images made from life. Whatever you go to see these days, you sit there and after some time you realize that you’re involved again in something that was born and has been recapitulating an experience that comes from other movies. And I think that’s a really serious dead end for something that I love very much, which is movies. And I did my share of that. Paris, Texas was — I wouldn’t say desperate, because I wasn’t so desperate while I was making it — but at the end of The State of Things, there was no other choice than to redefine, or find again, or rediscover what this is: to film something that exists, and film something that exists quite apart from movies. —Wim Wenders
L.M. Kit Carson on the shooting of PARIS, TEXAS:
The following is from the first page of Sam Shepard’s script for Paris, Texas.
DESERT LANDSCAPE – EXTERIOR, DAY
A fissured, empty, almost lunar landscape—seen from a bird’s-eye view. The camera hovers over it. In the distance, a lone man appears; he is crossing this desert.
A hawk lands on a boulder.
The man stops, looks at the bird.
Then he drinks the last drops of water from a large plastic bottle. He is wearing a cheap Mexican suit, a red baseball cap , and sandals with bandages wrapped around them. His clothes are covered with dust and soaked with sweat. He has been walking for a long time.
This is Travis.
Travis throws away the empty plastic bottle, and continues on his way across the bleak, hot plains that lie before him.
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