Paris, Texas (1984), Wim Wenders

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders’ 1984 Paris, Texas might be set in the American Southwest but, if the past is indeed a foreign country, then the movie reaches out to all of us through the memories of one man who does things differently.

paris-texas-2Both the landscapes at the start of the film and the lines on the face of the protagonist seem carved by time – this great destroyer of things. However, one must acknowledge that although the gradual elapsing of life itself brings us closer to death, it also fills us with rich experience and relevant wisdom. Like Jesus Christ, our hero comes out of the desert a little wiser than he has supposedly been before that experience. His prudent refusal to speak seems an astute move: look and learn before letting anyone use your words against yourself. Lost and a little confused he may be, but he is not stupid. Continue reading

No Country for Old Men (2007), Joel & Ethan Coen

An intense noirish western that deals with substantial moral questions, the Coen brothers’ 2007 No Country for Old Men, with its cynical view of modern America, subverts hero-worshiping in the form of a hideously atypical villain who is indestructible as a superhero.

no-country-for-old-men-2It seems odd to call No Country for Old Men a western. It certainly looks like one. The story takes place in Texas and several elements of the film – the orange-tinted landscape, the cowboy-type hero, the brutal violence – all point to, arguably, the most American of all genres. However, westerns usually are moral tales with archetypes dealing in honour and personal justice. The Coens’ film is rather more ambiguous.

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