London, Ontario. Paris, Texas

By Nicolas Vergara

Many years ago, Andres watched the movie Paris, Texas. Before that, when he was 13, in a Library in Serbia, he read these wise words: good novels are impossible to summarize. The words came from W.H. Auden, but they could belong perfectly to a German Literary Critic or an English one in the 80s, for it sounded wistful and convincing.  Andres, like many people from his generation, believes that you can easily apply ideas that come from literature to movies; and when he watched Paris, Texas, he decided that that was a movie impossible to summarize, and then he decided it was an amazing movie.

Four years ago, he tried to write a story about Paris, Texas. The story began in York University. In the story, Wim Wenders was smoking a cigarette at the main entrance of the University. A young woman stopped by him and asked if he could sell her a cigarette. He offered one, and then she started to tell him why she was so sad and frustrated about a recent exam that she couldn't pass. Wenders gave her some advice, based on his experience as a filmmaker. As a consequence of that, she told him that she went to the same school as Justin Beber, and even she was about to go on a date with him, but that didn't happen because her mother asked her —that night, that unlucky night— to take care of her little brother. 

He had other scenes in mind that he didn't get around to writing. Mainly meeting and visiting, and one that happens in London, Ontario. In London, Wenders was walking by the highways that go to Detroit. Nobody knows how the filmmaker got there, and how he was able to avoid the Grizzly bears, which everybody knows are more frequent than snowy days in that area. He was walking, and in a charging station for electric cars, he found a Tim Hortons. He felt asleep at one of the tables. The manager —a Nepali guy tired of being called Indian— tried unsuccessfully to wake him up. He decided to call the police. 

The police found Wenders’ brother address and they called him. Wenders’ brother was living in Yukon, where he had a publicity company for road advertising. He lived with his wife and a child. He drove his car to find Wenders. When they finally got together, Wenders’ brothers asked:

—Where have you been these last 15 years? I’ve been raising your child since then. 

The filmmaker seemed confused, and he was just able to reply: 

I need to go to London, Ontario.

Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto.