“[My characters] were drifters and searchers and they looked for something. The journey was a state of mind for them. And also, the filmmaking journey is a way of working that allows you to experience what the film is about, and to have the adventure that the film is supposed to represent for the audience. Most adventure films are made by film crews who are not going for the adventure. They are pretending to do the adventure. In a road movie you really go into the adventure, you go into the unknown, and you are faced with the unknown. You are not just producing it, you are experiencing it. I love that more, because the audience will be entering it and witness you actually doing it. That is a fantastic notion.”

— Wim Wenders, cited in Interview Magazine

Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas (dir. Wim Wenders, 1984)

Harry Dean Stanton has been a prominent presence in American cinema for sixty years. In the early days he haunted the margins of classic films like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II (1974) where we glimpse him playing pool, or sitting behind Frankie Pentangeli during an FBI hearing. He is unforgettable as the grumbling engineer in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), “right”? And it didn’t take long for this masterful character actor to find his way to the forefront. My favourite Stanton performance is his role as the lead in Wim Wenders’ 1984 film Paris, Texas. But there are also noteworthy appearances in several David Lynch projects: from Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fear Walk With Me (1992), to the ailing brother in The Straight Story (1999), to his appearance in the wilfully bizarre short film The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1988). And that’s to say nothing of his work with directors like John Huston or Martin Scorsese. An impressive body of work. Happy birthday!

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“Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller has given us some of the most transcendent images ever captured on-screen. Since beginning his career in the late sixties, he has lensed a wealth of indelible moments—from Harry Dean Stanton wandering alone through the vast Southwestern desert in Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas to the jailbirds of Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law on their odyssey through the lush Louisiana bayou. This summer, Müller’s inimitable career is being honored with a retrospective at the Eye museum in Amsterdam.”

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