Soundtrack: Paris, Texas
As the barbaric and gargantuan weight of the subject matter have now matted down the once raging debate that was struggling for positive resolve, ennui now firmly reigns victorious. The inspiration to levitate safely above everyday meaningless slings and arrows has vacated its column of honor, having left you somber, listless and tattered.
Any signs of life that happen hold no articulate reasoning and are robotic in their purpose, they are meaningless and merely an automatic function that you have no control over – it’s just your body and mind living off of itself without benefit of external aid. Any further mental or physical trauma is as useless as another shovel full of dirt over an already filled over grave. Like punching a clay figure, there is further mutilation but essentially, the same figure lies there only in a different shape.
If you are finally allowed the blessing of sleep, it is certainly without the soothing balm of peace, and has modulated into an abominated extension of the torment – callously animating the bleak thoughts that your subconscious has been incubating.
Long ago weary of salty, trailing, stinging tears, callous to lamentation and done with the shackles of self-pity you begin to rise by miniscule degrees. Long thought dead you emerge from the slavish encapsulation of brutal self-persecution seeking cleansing, sanctifying salvation.
If this was a movie, and you could choose the musical avatar, a genius with a gifted scope of musical emotion, to score this waterless, barren, dismal, moody and painful film, whom would you choose? Who could possibly have the ability to successfully translate agony and monumental human effort into musical candor set in the southwest?
You would choose Ry Cooder.
I have read on the IMDB that the film Paris, Texas is an American classic. That, “The scene where Stanton confronts his wife, and tells what he did and why he did it, must rank among the supreme scenes, not just of film, but of human life. It echoed the great scenes of our literature, such as Ulysses meeting with Penelope, and the return of the prodigal son.” “Paris, Texas is a masterpiece. There's no way around it. It's a movie that slowly reveals itself putting the audience right in the shoes of Stanton, who also is trying to remember his past and face it.” “[… the pacing is extremely slow, but as an audience member, use that to your advantage to suck in the picturesque orange southwest desert against the deep blue skys, and the poignant acting, and haunting soundtrack. There's no reason not to treat yourself to this uniquely American masterpiece meditation. It would make a great nightcap for a triple feature with two other simular themed American films, The Searchers and Taxi Driver.” (all above quotes are from the “Paris, Texas” IMDB page).
This film left such an impression on me (as it apparently did most everyone who saw it), that I could not stop thinking about it for weeks after. And since my first viewing, it has unfailingly always ranked in the top five of my all-time favorite movies for not only its emotional impact but also for its flawless score. It showcases Harry Dean Stanton (The Straight Story, Pretty In Pink), Natassja Kinski (Cat People, Far Away So Close), Dean Stockwell (To Live and Die In L.A., Quantum Leap) and Hunter Carson. Tell us about love, loss and salvation.
Up above is the shimmering, sweltering and silent sun that is melting the loose, unsettling and shifting sand. After fours years have evaporated, out of the desert abyss walks Harry Dean Stanton. Draw what parallels you will, but unparalleled is the sonorous tone that opens the scene, and sets the mood for the next 147 minutes. After repeated plays, the painful wails of the slide guitar alone have become synonymous with the deep southwest for me. You may hear and feel the imagery yourself.
No Safety Zone
Once more, rely on heavy imagery to feel the weight of despair and the possible sanctity of redemption. What comes to mind is the line “doesn’t waste a note”, which can be used to describe the whole soundtrack really. Glorious also comes to mind.
She’s Leaving The Bank
This is 6’02 of volatile restraint from Ry. This is a mood that is set to music. A track to play while sitting on the back porch and watching the sun go down. This is a track to play while playing over the movie in your head as you absently fondle the glass you’re drinking from that’s holding something strong. The only signal of a smile that registers while you’re listening to this and ruminating about Paris, Texas, is one that acknowledges that you will in all probability rate this as one of the few finest films you will ever be witness to.
Paris, Texas (16)
No Safety Zone (7)
She’s Leaving The Bank (8)
From:Soundtrack to Paris, Texas
Addendum: A huge thank you to whiteray over at Echoes In The Wind for featuring the Ritchie Havens’ “Stonehenge” album. This is a lost treasure from my childhood that I have not been able to locate in forever. This was also on my wish list that I have posted on the right side of this blog as “What I’m (unsuccessfully) Searching For”. I am in your debt.
Again, if anyone can help me locate any of the others I’d be grateful if you could please shout it out.