Harry Dean Stanton

The Conversation: Drew Morton and Landon Palmer Discuss ‘Paris, Texas’

Throughout Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas (1984), Travis Henderson (played by Harry Dean Stanton) carries with him a photograph of an empty lot he bought in the eponymous city, which he later tells his son is near “the Red River” that borders Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The reference automatically draws to mind Howard Hawks’s beloved 1948 Western, Red River, which drew together an unlikely screen pair with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift.

EIFF 2013: Harry Dean Stanton profiled in the terrific ‘Partly Fiction’

In keeping with the acting style of the object of its focus, Sophie Huber’s Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction stays away from extremes in its portrait of one of America’s greatest actors. There is affection, but it is understated and not glowing, while any melancholy elements are not over-stressed. The facts and opinions expressed, through Stanton and various collaborators, are simply allowed to be – free of added manipulation – in what amounts as a rather quiet documentary, excluding film clips with their own soundtracks and instances in which we get to see Stanton express his passion for performing music. Like the documentary’s most discussed film, Paris, Texas (1984), Partly Fiction is serene but also apt at emotional devastation, though as in Wim Wenders’ masterpiece, sorrow and optimism are intertwined.

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