Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Before Trilogy

Awkwardly sharing a beautiful song in a
listening booth
Seventeen years ago, my sister told me that I would probably like a little indie film called Before Sunrise, and did she ever have me pegged.  This movie touched me in a way no other movie had before or since.  It struck a chord.  It is the story of two twenty somethings who meet on a train in Austria and decide to pass the night roaming the streets of Vienna, before Jesse, who lacks the money for a hotel, leaves the following day for America.  Basically, the two just talk throughout the film, with magical Viennese backdrops.  The two share their ideas about life and love, and I still held out hope that I would someday return to Europe and meet someone like Jesse with whom I could discuss my hopes and fears on memorable adventures.  In the end of the movie, they decide to meet again in six months on the train platform, and the places they visited are shown in the early morning light, without the pair and their young, idealistic love.

The romantics knew that this was the how
the couple ended up.
Around six years later, I went to see another movie, called Waking Life, that had the same pair, Jesse and French Celine, in bed, discussing what the moment just after death may seem like as the brain slowly shuts itself down, and the common, shared memory of all humans.  Deep stuff shared in total intimacy, presented in a dreamy, surrealistic cartoon, which was perfect, since we couldn't know what happened to the couple after Before Sunrise, unless we made it up in our heads, right?

Set in Paris, the saga continues
Seeing if he dissolves into molecules. Lovely,
lovely, lovely.
Wrong.  A few years after that chance encounter with the pair that so moved me, I spotted a poster in a indie movie house for Before Sunset, with Jesse and Celine backlit from the setting sun.  Dread filled me immediately; surely the magic of the first movie would be ruined with a follow-up.  But, after my trusty rottentomatoes gave the film a very fresh rating, I went to see it and, against all odds, it was a fitting and lovely, and just as ambiguously ended, update from the first movie. The two are older, and less idealistic, but we're still not certain if they end up together.  I, too, had given up my youthful hopes and dreams, and life had settled into unexpected patterns that I was somewhat disappointed with.  But, ah, I could watch that ending again and again.  And, once again, I knew in my heart what would become of them.  Could there be hope for me, too?

Finally, they are a couple.  Does this spell
trouble?  I'm dying to know.
And now, Before Midnight is currently playing in Manhattan.  I cannot wait for this movie to come out in Queens in two weeks.  I feel like one of the Star Wars or Twilight fans who will go to the midnight screening and line up during a downpour to see the latest installment of my favorite film franchises.  And just as I don't understand the fascination with blockbusters and special effects, I expect very few people to understand my attraction to a movie without a plot per-se, that follows lovers and the course of their lives.    It's hard to create tie-in Taco Bell merchandise on that premise.  But, as the previous two films did at the time of their releases, this movie  looks to sum up my current situation pretty well, only stated more eloquently in much more beautiful surroundings.  What's not to love?


  1. Hi Linda! Can you email me your email address please so I can send your xmas in July swap partner's details xxx

  2. Hi, thanks for this beautiful reading!! I know and love the films ,too!! AND hadn't yet dicovered that there is a third film!!!! So, double thanks!!!! Very much looking forward to seeing it! Many Greetings Anne



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