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.


kekure said...

Glad to know that there's another soul out there who gave these movies a perfect ten :)

maberik said...

i absolutely ADORE both films. especially the sequel.

Before Sunset is one of my favorite films of all time. glad u gave them a perfect 10.

TheBigKahuna said...

kekure : likewise...

maberik : actually i prefer the first one.. of course, in the second one, the arguments are better and really memorable. but the fact that the first one was set in Vienna (I've always wanted to go to Austria since I watched The Sound Of Music for the first time) really makes it magical because it's like a faraway land. And of course, Julie Delpy look much much hotter back then. In the second one she looks kinda thin and a little wrinkly, dont u think?

Anonymous said...

woi balik mesia nanti ko jadi film critic part time yeah? kat malaysia ni dah banyak sangat film reviewer.
malaysia memerlukan anda! cuba lah yang ini

Anonymous said...

TheBigKahuna said...

review senang.. kritik yang susah.. aku bukan suke sangat tengok citer2 baru, aku suke tgk citer yg dah outdated...

lgpun mende tuh macam utk org yg keje kat sokaba je.. hehe.. aku sungguh le x layak

ani said...

orang yang keje kat sokaba tu susah sikit.. pasal dorang kena tulis pasal memacam.. jadi susah nak jadi 'ahli' dalam satu-satu subjek.

contoh filem kritik belia yang berjaya

contoh abang kritik yang ganas

ARI said...

I tell you, the 2 movies are, how shall I put acquired taste.

I watched Before Sunset first, so as you can imagine, I literally gagged for Before Sunrise. Welcome to Kuala Lumpur, no shop sold it (back then, now I don't know). Finally managed to download it.

I'm a girl, very straight, and I fell inlove with July Deply too...the character I mean :-)

The 2 movies are definitely a perfect 10.

Влади́мир Пу́тин said...

a woman doesn't need to be a lesbian to love Julie Delpy.. she's androgynously hot.

actually, the best place to find DVDs is around Bangsar. I found a lot of french new wave DVDs over there, some classics, a lot of artsy films etc... It's not your average speedy store. But it's been like 2 years since I last went there, so...

yasmin said...

salaam, kahuna.

these two movies were quite charming, but i beg to differ on one thing:

to me, they pale, pale, PALE in comparison with woody allen's "play it again sam", "annie hall", and "manhattan".

anyway, viva la difference.

will nani and i see you in paris on the 5th/6th/7th and 8th?

Kahuna said...

from that list, i've only watched Annie Hall. And I'd have to say. although Annie Hall has more weight in terms of jokes, philosophy, facts, etc, but i think Before Sunset and Sunrise are charming. The love story is just so, erm, sweet? I don't know. Still, to me, these two movies are much more memorable than Annie Hall.

maberik said...

dude...kedai speedy bangsar kat mana?

kene pegi usha nih

Kahuna said...

go into jalan maarof and you'll see a McDonald's.. turn left and go straight.. look at your left and when you see a row of pubs, you know you're near the DVD heaven. actually I heard there was a raid or something because some of them sold soft-porn. but i think there should still be a lot of DVD places scattering around.

kalo nak usha kene naik kereta. senang.