Friday, June 03, 2005

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset

A couple of months ago I bought a movie called “Before Sunset”, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Dempsey. I had never heard of this film before but I usually pick up anything that looks remotely interesting as DVD’s here are so cheap. I really enjoyed this film and after watching the special features I realized that it was a sequel to another movie called “Before Sunrise”. I came across a copy of that a few weeks ago and finally watched in last night. I used to watch movies everyday but I have hardly had the time anymore, plus I just got Seinfeld season four which has kept me busy late at night.

“Before Sunrise” starts off with both actors having a chance encounter on a train going from Budapest to Paris. Hawke is an American guy traveling through Europe with a flight to catch the next morning from Vienna back to the US and Dempsey plays a young French woman still in college. Both appear to be in their early 20’s. Hawke convinces Dempsey to spend the evening with him in Vienna as they got along so well and were enjoying their brief encounter. The film follows them through the city as they walk around just chatting. They discuss a number of interesting topics that any of us would discuss on a regular basis. They talk of life, death, religion, love, relationships, and more. There are no other prominent roles in the movie except for these two so some people might find this boring. I however find the script fascinating. And from the special features I found that many times the scripts were improvised. The movie appeared to be relatively low budget as well.

There were many theories discussed in the movie that I wanted to share here but I did not write them down and I can’t remember them all. Damn my short term memory! At one point they were talking about reincarnation. An interesting speculation by Hawke was that the world’s population is constantly increasing. So if in fact we do have a soul that is reincarnated, there would have only been a fraction in existence a few thousand years ago as compared to today. So where do the new souls come from? Are souls “splitting” to create new ones? If so then are we just fractions of our former selves? I found that worth thinking about.

Overall the script was very smart and I enjoyed the film very much. It ends with them parting ways after the sunrise. They decide not to exchange contacts as relationships die out that way and it might be better to enjoy the moments as they were. But in the end they settle on meeting back in the same spot 6 months later. The movie ends here. My writing my seem flat but trust me, the movie has a very poetic lining. The scenes are drawn out with long flowing shots following the actors as they walk down streets, through shops, bars, and buildings, exploring the city. I am sure it was an interesting experience for the actors to work this way rather than cutting and shooting from other angles over and over again.

I do not believe they intended to make a sequel and in fact it seems “Before Sunset” has only been released many years later. Most of the commentary and interviews are located on the special features of this disc. I watched it many months ago so I can not remember the fine details. The movie takes off in the lives of the 2 actors more then 5 years later. They missed their encounter and Hawke is on Paris doing a book signing. He meets Dempsey at the store. He has a flight to catch that night but they manage to spend the afternoon together walking through the streets of Paris, essentially catching up where they left off.

I do not want to give the story away but essentially it follows the same trend, although I did find the direction a lot better. The shots were equally long and the script just as provocative. We rarely see films anymore that are genuinely stimulating and that offer such insight to the human mind and nature of our being. Movies like this remind me that we are all just human with needs, and feelings, no matter how we try to make our selves appear. The only word I can really use to describe a movie like this is REAL. That is the same word I would use for Lost in Translation. I must say that I feel a bit “soft” today. It’s a good thing I don’t have to do any negotiating because I would probably just cave and give my suppliers a hug… Why can’t we just love each other??!! He he he. Not likely mate! We is ruthless. I would like to hear your thoughts on this if any of you have watched these films. Seems the only thing you bastards comment on is Gonzo epics. Well we had a long talk last night so something will be coming soon on that front.


Shan said...

If you want the actual script to use quotes from, you could Yahoo or Google search it - that's how I found some lines from Chasing Amy.

Rishtafari said...

Zana took me to see this flick sometime back, we really enjoyed it. The dialogues were very real and touched on topics we all question every so often. What I found truly different in the way this film was directed and acted was the way the characters would really listen and pay attention to one another while they spoke, there was a lot of non verbal communication going on using facial and bodily expression while they listened with true interest and really heard what the other was saying, in a way it brought about a deeper communication between a man and a woman... or for that matter two beings.

The director, Linklater has his own style in which I find very natural and real scenarios that each of us can truly relate to in our lives, you will remember his work in "Dazed and Confused" another great one.

Great review Avi, I'm sure your other readers are looking forward to seeing this one, makes me want to watch it again.

mike rodrigues said...

yo avi, i have another flick you might like as well, its called "Criminal" -and its very good.....

Avi said...

Dude, I did not know this guy made D and C as well. I used to watch that movie all the time in the Dawg House. Remeber Mike? Check ya laater! Matt McConohay was in that movie as well. He had that belt that double dutied as a pipe. Wikid.