In Criterion’s issue of Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas Nick Roddick interviews Sam Shepard who at one point says: “When I worked with Joe Chaikin, he said a really interesting thing about the whole concept of storytelling. He said, ‘At the turn of the century or something [sic] ,storytelling was a real form that people felt fit their lives in a way: this long thing — beginning, middle, and ending — really meant something in their lives. And maybe now we’re in a time where that doesn’t fit anymore, that demands something new, other kinds of concepts; maybe the story has to do with moments rather than this long, epic form which just doesn’t match our lives anymore, because everything’s so fragmented and broken…’
“And it’s a hard pill to swallow because I really still migrate towards that old, classical form, although I can’t do it. I’ve tried over and over again to make this kind of sweeping thing, and it just doesn’t…”
Roddick apparently interrupts: “Because we grew up with it. Godard is the classical example for that.”
“The oral thing [Shepard continues], a story being told from one person to another, is still very strong, I think; it still has incredible value. But the whole idea of making a long panorama just doesn’t fit. The Japanese are the only ones who can do it, Kurosawa. But he comes from a tradition of storytelling. And Americans really don’t come from that grand style. It’s more an oral thing. Legends, maybe.
Rick’s Flicks thanks Criterion and Nick Roddick for this generous excerpt and recommends purchase of Criterion’s two-disc issue of Paris, Texas which includes a 42-page booklet which contains the interview with Sam Shepard along with other interviews and an essay on Wenders and his film.
NEXT Friday POST May 6, Wenders’ PARIS, TEXAS
See you at the movies,