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Friday, December 23, 2005

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

This pair of movies needs to be rented/bought/watched as close to being back to back as you can. (Neither is very long, so watching both won't be a big time sink) Watch Before Sunrise first. This pair of movies come highly recommended.

The first thing that strikes me about the movies is the question, how can movies that are essentially 2 people walking and talking work at all? But when you're done watching the movie, you realize that many of the most intense moments of your life have been just the two of you, walking or talking (or maybe in my case, cycling and talking), so maybe that question should never have come up in the first place.

Before Sunrise deals with the moment of the chance encounter --- the accidental meeting of someone, making a connection, and then taking a risk and getting to know them. Jesse & Celine meet on a train, and Jesse persuades Celine to make an unplanned stop with him in Vienna to keep him company in the afternoon and evening before he has to catch a plane. The two get to know each other, and what starts out as a chance encounter turns into something magical.

What strikes me about both movies is that they are hyper-real. Before Sunset is shot almost entirely in real time, with no skipped moments. There are moments in my life when I've felt every moment in complete intensity (I remember an interview when I was 16 with a board of 6 or 7 people who were to determine whether I would get a scholarship), and the movies reflect those moments fluidly. I remember the arm wrapping move as Julie Depry puts her arms around Ethan Hawke vividly in Before Sunrise, and there's a moment in the van when she reaches out to touch him but draws back as he turns to look at her --- those moments in the film are so real that they remind me of certain moments in my life, no doubt as the principals intended.

Before Sunset is about the "what if". What if you had made choices differently? What if when you were young and stupid you would have been just a little less stupid? By aging the actors naturally (9 years pass between the first and second movies) there is no contrivance at all in the changes over the years. I especially enjoyed the expression one of the characters made in saying, essentially, "When I was young I had so many choices I threw them away without realizing the preciousness of what I had thrown away." Yet the movies aren't full of regrets, and each movie ends with a question mark.

OK, I've worked very hard not to spoil the movies for you. Go watch it, and don't read any other reviews before watching them. Watch the movies with your significant other, if you have one. It will provide good conversation.



This is my favorite movie right now. It makes me so happy and so sad at the same time. Happy for the obvious reasons and sad for the simple fact that they had to spend 9 years apart, that single thought really hits me. Im so glad i found these movies!!!!!!

Unknown said...

I am very very much with you and your comments about the movies. I have both of them and I estimate that I have now seen them both about five or six times. Each time I watch them I feel that I have seen something new, sometimes profound about both of the characters. I hope it is not too trite, but it is about life too. I recently bought a small book containing the scripts of both movies. The book contains absolutely not a thing about the scripts or the movie, its background, how they came about, etc. You would imagine that there would be quite an interesting story on how they evolved. The second one had dialogue written by both the stars. Which would be interesting. I plan on watching both movies again with the script in hand to see if my feeling that some of the dialogue in the book is not what was said in the movies. However, I love them both. BTW, I am a male of advanced age that never lost the feeling that love is the thing. Almost the only thing, after aquiring the basic needs! Getting a "connection" and feeling a closeness in that with another. I lack the words to describe it, but maybe you can feel what I am trying to say.

Unknown said...

Hi, after "before Sunset", do you know if the story will go on?...if they make a third movie?

greenmelon said...

I just watched before sunset and the film's so sad but happy at the same time. I've never been so engaged in a film. Like when they sit together on a bench and Jesse tries to put his arm around Celine, I can really feel the time that has slipped by. But again, Jesse genuinely glows with happiness
and I love the intense moment those two people share. Especially when he's walking in the streets of Paris, not knowing where he is heading for - I mean everything is so magical and lovely. Celine still has to translate what Jesse is saying and she can be quite bad-tempered at times but I mean, this film just explains why people dream of travelling and encountering new people. I'm so glad I watched this at the end of spring. It really flatters me of upcoming summer...