Monday, May 28, 2007
Before Sunrise & Before Sunset
I've seen a couple of Woody Allen movies. They're really wordy, funny, clever and thought-provoking.
But with Before Sunrise/Sunset, you would have to add "enchanting" to that list of adjectives. I'm going to review both films simultaneously.
Guy and girl meets on a train across Europe. Guy is a typical dumb American who doesn't speak any foreign languages, and girl is a typical tough but sexy French with ambitions and who knows what she wants. Guy asks girl to get down in Vienna with him. She does. They don't have enough money, so the streets of Vienna become their free hotel room for the night. They talk, and talk, and talk some more, meet a palm reader, a street poet, a dancer, go to a club and watch a gig, all the while talking about everything from monkeys to feminism to sex. Morning comes, and they part ways, knowing they might never see each other again despite the chemistry they think they have. They promise they will meet again in Vienna in six months, but the girl never shows up.
Nine years later, guy publishes a book about that one night in Vienna. Girl reads it, knows he is coming to Paris for a book-signing session, meets him for the second time, and hop! All the talking starts up again. They talk in a little Parisian café, on the street, on a Seine River boat, in the car. This time, the conversations are more mature and more real, about marriage, about kids, about satisfaction, about liberating from desire, and about Nina Simone.
Sounds boring? Well, if this was what's written at the back of the DVD, I would have thrown it away faster than you could say "Fucking European love story". Luckily, they didn't write that crap. And i didn't throw the DVD away (yeah, right... like I actually would waste my hard-earned money on a DVD these days, if you know what I mean.)
Anywayyy... The essence of the movie is the conversations. Some might call them pseudo-intellectual, and I'd partially agree with that. In Sunrise, they were young people who thought they knew everything, but as they talked, they realised how little the depth of their knowledge actually was. Thus the strings of unanswered questions, the illogical reasoning etc.. And I loved them. In Sunset, they were not exactly young, they knew a lot more (after all, it had been nine years), and they had finally understood that some questions were meant to be unanswered because the answers could be really painful.. And I still loved them.
The questions may be a little blah (because not a lot of people ask these questions anymore), but they're not stupid. I enjoyed listening to their discussions, and 40 minutes into the first movie, I was lusting over Celine (Julie Delpy) because her character was just reeking of beauty and intelligence, which is a deadly combination. Sometimes when Jesse (Ethan Hawke) didn't respond to her the way I would've, I got mad and felt like shoving him away from the screen so she would talk to me instead. That, of course, never happened.
Listening to people is not one of my best qualities. I get bored so easily, especially when they start talking about the dreams they had the night before. Everybody dreams, you know? So what, your dreams are the weirdest dreams of all the dreams people ever had? Dreams are all equally weird, SO GET OVER IT MOTHERFUCKER! If everybody started telling how weird their dreams were, wouldn't that be as stupid as stupid can get? However, when Jesse and Celine talk about their dreams, I was all ears. Why? I don't know. You just have to watch the movie to really feel it. This movie takes talking and listening to a whole new level.
I don't know, it's hard to review these two cinematic gems. I don't know where the climax is in each movie, and the characters don't develop that much. It's just beautifully weird. And DON'T watch this movie with silly friends who don't listen to the dialogues and are just waiting for the sex scenes. Firstly, because they're noisy and they make it hard to listen to what's being said (and the dialogues are extremely important). Secondly, because there's no sex scenes.
I give both movies a prefect ten.
Posted by Kahuna at 1:09 AM