Before Sunrise

An amazingly touching movie, that only explores 2 characters on an overnight tour to nowhere in particular around Vienna. The best and the ambiguous corners of Vienna are captured in such a picturesque way, sometimes poetic in its mundane clarity, that is only surpassed with the philosophical probing and adolescent flirting of the two main characters, Jesse and Celine. Something that starts brilliantly non-dramatic, just smoothly into a moment in where these two people exist, and start to get to know each other. While their conversation expands, and they get to know each other more, the sentences are profoundly trivial yet with deep meaning we are given the luxury of assuming various facts about the characters, and are rewarded with mild suprises when it turns out to be right or wrong.
The conversations are believable, from the bursts of individuality to the mild tolerance to one another just to make the night more enjoyable, the situation can happen anywhere, but the flow of the one-night romance is maybe a bit too good for all of us, we all end up wanting to be in that situation. Even the characters themselves realize that their night together, however insignificant (compared to usual Western context of ‘great nights’, as in ‘getting laid all night long’ , ‘as wasted as a garbage pit’ or ‘rolling in the money at the poker table’), has deep meaning, and will be remembered for long after. A romance we can identify with but not really grasp (except if you’re lucky enough, I guess. No such luck for me yet).
Even if the movie is basically about their conversations, the best scene for me is when at the record store, the go into a listening room to listen to one of the records Celine picked out, and they just stood there and listened. With Jesse looking at Celine when she’s looking away, and Celine returning the look smiling and then Jesse looks away smiling, on and on, turn in turn, the scene speaks volumes in our head about what they are trying to say to each other without really saying anything on screen.
I think this is the sort of chemistry that we all yearn to find, but hardly ever do.

About barijoe

Failed Musician, Reformed Gadget Freak and Eating Extraordinaire.

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