I just re-watched my favorite movie: Paris, Texas. There’s this famous monologue in it where Harry Dean Stanton tells the story of his long lost love to his long lost love (played by Natassja Kinski) as she sits behind one-way glass in a place that can only be described as peep show phone sex parlor. He can see her but she can’t see him. And she doesn’t know it’s him-until he tells this story. He’s tracked her down after they’ve both been MIA for four years.
This is the part where he talks about the final, terrible dissolution of their relationship:
She told him that she dreamed about escaping. That was all she dreamed about: escape. She saw herself at night running naked down a highway, running across fields, running down riverbeds, always running. And always, just when she was about to get away, he’d be there. He would stop her somehow. He would just appear and stop her. And when she told him these dreams, he believed them. He knew she had to be stopped or she’d leave him forever. So he tied a cow bell to her ankle so he could hear her at night if she tried to get out of bed. But she learned how to muffle the bell by stuffing a sock into it, and inching her way out of the bed and into the night. He caught her one night when the sock fell out and he heard her trying to run to the highway. He caught her and dragged her back to the trailer, and tied her to the stove with his belt.
Stanton’s character leaves his love tied to the stove and goes to sleep listening to the screams of her and his child. When he wakes up, their trailer’s on fire and he looks for the only two people he loved but they’re gone and so he just keeps running and stays lost for four years.
Everyone should go out and rent the movie. It’s one of the best stories of isolation and love in America — and it was made by the Germans and the French. And it’s one of those rare tear-jerkers that 1) guys like and 2) goes well with either heartbreak or a new romance.