Monday, September 05, 2011

"Before Sunrise" (1995)

Alright, I have an admittedly insane idea, but if I don't ask you this it's just, uh, you know, it's gonna haunt me the rest of my life.


Um... I want to keep talking to you, y'know. I have no idea what your situation is, but, uh, but I feel like we have some kind of, uh, connection. Right?

Yeah, me too.

Yeah, right, well, great. So listen, so here's the deal. This is what we should do. You should get off the train with me here in Vienna, and come check out the town.

The plot of “Before Sunrise” is very simple. A young American man meets a young French woman on a train that is crossing Europe. The man is flying back to the States out of Vienna the following day, and he doesn’t have enough money to spend the night in a hotel. He talks the woman, who is on her way to Paris, into spending that last night with him. They spend their time together exploring Vienna. At various times find themselves on a ferris wheel, in a cafĂ©, having their palms read, sitting in a church, drinking wine in a park, or just walking.

Even though I reject most of the religious things I can't help but feeling for all those people that come here lost or in pain, guilt, looking for some kind of answers. It fascinates me how a single place can join so much pain and happiness for so many generations.

And talking. Just conversation between two people. There is an obvious attraction between the two of them, but that’s not what the movie is about. For that matter, the movie isn’t really “about” anything, there’s no plot, per se. Just two people talking, sometimes about ideas, sometimes about their lives, sometimes about the things that are unfolding around them. They’re quite obviously intelligent people, but they aren’t going out of their way to impress or sound as if they were smart. They’re sincere, and they seem like real people.

I always feel this pressure of being a strong and independent icon of womanhood, and without making it look my whole life is revolving around some guy. But loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. We always make fun of it and stuff. But isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?

The movie stars Ethan Hawke as Jesse, and Julie Delpy as Celine. They are both terrific. Kudos also go to director Richard Linklater, who also wrote the screenplay, with Kim Krizan. A movie like this is obviously not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can count me among its fans. Like “Lost in Translation,” it is a movie that is less important for what happens than it is for how its characters interact, and what they say to each other.

A movie like "Before Sunrise" is thought-provoking, because you can imagine something like this happening in real life. Two human beings making a connection, one spiced with mystery because at the end, you’re left wondering what will happen to these two people, and what will happen to their relationship…do they even have a relationship? [Of course, the puzzle is solved somewhat by the existence of “Before Sunset,” which revisits the same characters, ten years later. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened]. But that’s OK, because life is a never-ending mystery.

You couldn’t possibly know why a night like this is so important to me right now. But it is.

1 comment:

le0pard13 said...

This is one of those that I keep saying I'll finally watch, but haven't as yet. Maybe this will get me off the snide. Thanks, Jeff.