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Hmmm, I didn't get the impression the film was asking us to root for infidelity -- I was struck by how these characters had been DAMAGED by their romanticization of that one-night fling way back when. Y'know, I was madly in love with a girl back in my teens and my early 20s, and even though she got married years ago and has a few children now, I still find I dream about her occasionally, and that kinda-sorta bugs me, because I have definitely moved on with my life. But I guess we never entirely escape the gravitational pull of our past, especially when we wonder what OTHER directions it might have sent our lives flying, and what I see in Before Sunset is two characters who are very much at risk of succumbing to that romanticization of the past. We might ASSUME that everything would have worked out fine for them if they had met each other at the train station like they had promised to do, but we have no way of knowing -- the "dream" of each other that they were pursuing might have fallen apart as soon as they began to pursue the "reality" of a life together. It all takes me back to that Roger Ebert quote from several posts back: "When you're 20, you know that one night could change your life forever, and when you're 40, not only do you doubt that, but you're sort of relieved."


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Some interesting stats on the local D.C.-area box-office grosses for


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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from Christian Spotlight ... FWIW...

The most difficult part to grapple with is the fact that Jessie is now married with a child. He confesses to Celine how bad his marriage is and that he married for the wrong reasons. He says he is in it because he is committed, but the entire time he is with Celine, it is clear he just wants to get back together with her. The whole story is emphasizing their infatuation and encourages us to hope they get back together. It seems being with each other is what they both really want, and while I want to see a story about true love, it was unreasonable to root for their relationship to succeed.

During a walk through the park, Celine gives Jessie a moral dilemma to reason out. She asks that if he were to die that very night, what would he have their conversation be about and what would he do. Jesse eventually boils it down to having sex


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Hawke not sincere in this role? And here I thought I had read that his character's comments about his lame marriage were inspired by Hawke's then-failing marriage to Uma.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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au contraire! i knew instantly that jesse was married--the gold band on his left ring finger, visible in the very first scene at the bookstore, gives him away. so personally, i felt a different tension thoughout the whole first part of the movie

MASSIVE SPOILERS

Ah, I missed that part. I guess I was too busy looking at Ms. Delpy. smile.gif Seriously, that was a fault of mine. I should've picked up on that. I wonder how it would've affected my viewing experience.

Hmmm, I didn't get the impression the film was asking us to root for infidelity -- I was struck by how these characters had been DAMAGED by their romanticization of that one-night fling way back when.

Now I don't agree with this. I think the film stacks the deck. We're supposed to root for Hawke and Delpy to get back together. We don't want him to get on that plane. How else to explain that absolutely lovely scene in Delpy's apartment--her touching song that she wrote and plays, her brilliant Nina Simone impersonation, her dancing, Hawke's befuddled looks. And then Linklater's gorgeously modest fade-to-black. 99% of the people in the audience are going to be thrilled that Hawke is missing his plane. That's rooting for infidelity.

Y'know, I was madly in love with a girl back in my teens and my early 20s....

I'm on a couple other listserves, and I'm fascinated by how many people refer to their own experiences in explaining their reaction to Before Sunset. There's something going on with this movie that hits people at a very primal level. Which is one of the reasons I like it so. Though its morals still bother me a bit.

J Robert

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There's something going on with this movie that hits people at a very primal level. Which is one of the reasons I like it so. Though its morals still bother me a bit.

This suggests to me that there was a greater wrong that occurred before his marriage... the fact that he still had buried feelings for someone else, feelings that could upset a marriage. Under those conditions, he never should have taken marriage vows.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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au contraire! i knew instantly that jesse was married--the gold band on his left ring finger, visible in the very first scene at the bookstore, gives him away. so personally, i felt a different tension thoughout the whole first part of the movie

MASSIVE SPOILERS

Ah, I missed that part. I guess I was too busy looking at Ms. Delpy. smile.gif Seriously, that was a fault of mine. I should've picked up on that. I wonder how it would've affected my viewing experience.

i asked my boyfriend (with whom i saw the film) if he'd noticed the ring, and he said he hadn't. it didn't even occur to him to look for one--he was just as surprised as you, j.robert, when celine mentioned the book jacket revelationl.

on the other hand, when i asked the female friend who also saw the film with us, she said, "of course! i spotted it in the opening scene." perhaps women are more trained to notice wedding rings? i always look for them on both other women as well as the men i encounter. that may be influenced by the boy's and my current search for wedding rings we'd like to wear ourselves, but i think i checked out people's left ring fingers long before i met someone i wanted to marry.

and hey, i don't blame you for getting distracted by delpy. she's absolutely stunning. i have a girl-crush on her.

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Hmmm, the fact that Ethan wears the wedding ring is interesting, given what he says about the state of his marriage (which, incidentally, may not be entirely truthful) and what he says about how he wrote the book to find Julie ...

jrobert wrote:

: : Hmmm, I didn't get the impression the film was asking us to root for infidelity --

: : I was struck by how these characters had been DAMAGED by their

: : romanticization of that one-night fling way back when.

:

: Now I don't agree with this. I think the film stacks the deck. We're supposed to

: root for Hawke and Delpy to get back together. We don't want him to get on that

: plane. How else to explain that absolutely lovely scene in Delpy's apartment--her

: touching song that she wrote and plays, her brilliant Nina Simone impersonation,

: her dancing, Hawke's befuddled looks. And then Linklater's gorgeously modest

: fade-to-black. 99% of the people in the audience are going to be thrilled that

: Hawke is missing his plane. That's rooting for infidelity.

I dunno, I don't see it as being encouraged to "root" for it -- I see it as an ending that is as ambivalent, in its own way, as the ending to the first film was. Though I freely concede that the filmmakers might ASSUME that we'd be inclined to root for it.

I'll say this much, though -- if Hawke and Delpy DO get it on after that ending (which, yes, is gorgeous), then it will make the prospects of a third film mighty tricky, since the two films released so far have both begun with the premise that these two characters are virtual strangers to each other. If the two of them were to strike up an actual RELATIONSHIP, then, I dunno, we can't exactly jump ahead another nine years as though nothing had happened between them in that time, since obviously all SORTS of things would have happened between them in that time ...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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mightn't it, though, be interesting to see how that hypothetical relationship plays out in the day to day? after all, celine and jesse were originally mighty concerned about avoiding a relationship that eventually disintegrates into the mundane. what would that relationship look like once they are actually forced (as all relationships are) into the mundane?

maybe that's why "before sunset" works so well, though. its ending is so ambiguous that it's up to the viewer's imagination how things turn out for celine and jesse. but then again, i felt dismayed when i heard about a "before sunrise" sequel; i feared that the beauty of the open-ended, "will-they-or-won't-they meet up?" conclusion of the original would be squashed by a follow-up in which we find out exactly what DID happen. but the way linklater handled that was masterful and entertaining (he doesn't just tell us; the characters dance around it for awhile, and because people are liars, we get some surprising revelations in "sunset"'s final moments). i have no doubt that he would bring grace and magic to a third movie, too.

a question for those of you who've seen "sunset" and "waking life": where do you think the "waking life" conversation between delpy and hawke fits in? does it, in a linear way? there's some stunning talk about dreams in "sunset"--does "waking life" capture one of the dreams that woke hawke in sobs? or is it meant to be a real event? i partly ask because i wonder if this scene could reflect to us what celine & jesse's day to day life might look like if they ever did pursue a relationship--but i'm also captivated by the dream idea.

Edited by kebbie

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Movie just arrived in Hawaii this weekend. I was surprised at how much I was longing for them to spend more time together throughout the movie. I guess I've formed such an attachment to these two characters (more accurately, an attachment to their connection) that I didn't want them to have to part again. I've heard other people talk about this movie the same way - about the connection they feel to the characters. For me, although I disagree with the politics discussed, the frustration, the uncertainty, the longing that infects both characters is something that hits very close to home for me.

It's hard for me to talk about this movie without getting into very personal details about my own life. That's how much I feel for and relate to these characters and I know other fans of Before Sunrise feel the same. I guess all I can say is hat's off to Linklater for not screwing it up (after the disasterous Star Wars and Matrix sequels, I think I have sqeuel-phobia).

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I guess all I can say is hat's off to Linklater for not screwing it up (after the disasterous Star Wars and Matrix sequels, I think I have sqeuel-phobia).

indeed! it's rare that a sequel's even worth anyone's time, let alone BETTER than the original (i thought Sunset was a stronger, more compelling film than Sunrise). could it be that "before sunset" is perhaps the Best Sequel Ever?

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I can see people's personal experiences becoming part of their interaction with the film, this simplicity of the plotline mimics the simplicity with which love occurs in life. It doesn't seem that this movie would work anywhere else really, having Paris as its backdrop constantly brings to mind a hundred New Wave films that were simply about people being in love.

For the record though, the same moral dilemma that kept some on this board (ahem) from like Friday Night are the ones that beset this film. The Tom Wolfe quote that Jesse uses in his interview at the beginning of the film became the lens through which I saw everything. The film is about how the past informs the stories (autobiographies) that we are presently walking around in. So here are two people that are suffocated by the "stories" they have become. The only way they know there really is a better story out there is because they experienced it briefly ten years ago with each other.

This is why Jesse's book is so successful, it is why Before Sunset is so pleasant to watch. The simple love story really is just the best story, and is one that all of us want to see and experience. But, the fact is that the film closes with the notion that Jesse is going to relive that story for at least a night. While some may find this to be romantic, it struck me as really sad. Here are two people grabbing at the straws of a memory, this story really isn't theirs anymore (at least as long as Jesse is still married). Eternal Sunshine... ended the opposite way that Before Sunset does, so I would never want to compare the two in that way.

In Jesse's defense, we can point out the fact that he did go to Vienna six months after the first film. His love for her isn't a sham or a matter of convenience at all.

This really is a great film though. The last scene, with her dancing and him rolling his ring around his finger is absolutely the best final shot I have seen this year. Linklater's sensitivity to what is transpiring in that moment is alarming. I love the way he frames Delpy in the last shot, slightly off composition and slipping off to the side a bit. She is almost like an afterthought, probably exactly what she had looked like in Jesse's memory for the past decade. And the technical mastery that went into getting this in real time...wow. Maybe some of you noticed that Jesse's facial hair in the film was awful. The left side of his face had patches of unshaven hair while the right side was perfectly clean. Through the whole film I watched this to see if it would ever change (because it was awful enough that it would have been difficult to reproduce by a makeup artist over the course of a week). It never seemed to change. Is there any info out there about how long this took to film?


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Here are two people grabbing at the straws of a memory, this story really isn't theirs anymore (at least as long as Jesse is still married).

Part of the conflict in this film has to do with what you do after a fleeting encounter with your (for lack of a better term) soulmate - someone with whom you feel an undeniable, unforgettable connection. Do you, as Jesse did, move on and try to make the best of a relationship where the connection isn't as strong or do you, like Celine, go from relationship to relationship, discarding each one when they don't equal or surpass the intensity of that one night's connection.

(Warning, extremely silly analogy ahead...welcome to my world)

I had this very conversation with a good friend of mine a few weeks ago. I framed the question this way: Living in Hawaii, I used to think that Taco Bell burritos were pretty good. I thought they tasted great and I was happy consuming them. But then I went on a trip to New Mexico and there I had an authentic (at least that's what the restaurant claimed) Mexican Burrito (capital "B") and my whole understanding of what a burrito could be changed. Now I wasn't as happy with the Taco Bell burrito as I used to be because I had experienced something closer to the Platonicly ideal Burrito (there's a phrase you don't see very often).

So when it comes to relationships, let's say you meet your "soulmate" and for whatever reason, it doesn't work out. Where do you go from there? Jesse found a burrito he could thought he could live with, perhaps hoping that time and commitment would allow him to put the Burrito behind him. But the fact that he spent years (I think he said eight) working on his book shows that the Burrito would not leave him alone. On the other hand, Celine would not settle for anything less than The Burrito. So she goes from burrito to burrito but leaves every one of them because they don't measure up.

Both of them wind up with their own misery. While they feel blessed for sharing that night together, they have been poisoned by it as well. Jesse is left "running a daycare with someone I used to date," while Celine has been numbed by disapointment.

If Jesse had remained single, the solution would be (relatively) simple - write the book, meet her in Paris, happily ever after. But this movie is about how they've chosen to deal with the problem of the Burrito. The trailer for Sunset implies that this movie is about what you'd do if you had a second bite at the Burrito but it isn't. The movie ends just before it deals with that question - this movie is about whether you settle for burrito or hold out for the Burrito.

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That analogy works fine, at the very least it is quite tasty.

But it seems that we can step back even further from the issue and say that the film isn't even about the question of the "burrito vs. the Burrito." It is about two people who have eaten their fill of both and don't know what to do about it, so they might as well do what strikes them as appropriate for the moment.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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LoneTomato wrote:

: Jesse found a burrito he could thought he could live with, perhaps hoping that

: time and commitment would allow him to put the Burrito behind him. But the fact

: that he spent years (I think he said eight) working on his book shows that the

: Burrito would not leave him alone. On the other hand, Celine would not settle for

: anything less than The Burrito. So she goes from burrito to burrito but leaves

: every one of them because they don't measure up.

Reading this, it strikes me that the man has chosen to compensate through commitment, while the woman has chosen to compensate through non-commitment. This kind of turns the old clich


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Guest Russell Lucas
Is there any info out there about how long this took to film?

15 days for the entire production, according to one review.

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LoneTomato wrote:

: Jesse found a burrito he could thought he could live with, perhaps hoping that

: time and commitment would allow him to put the Burrito behind him. But the fact

: that he spent years (I think he said eight) working on his book shows that the

: Burrito would not leave him alone. On the other hand, Celine would not settle for

: anything less than The Burrito. So she goes from burrito to burrito but leaves

: every one of them because they don't measure up.

Reading this, it strikes me that the man has chosen to compensate through commitment, while the woman has chosen to compensate through non-commitment. This kind of turns the old clich

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Saw it. Loved it.

Julie Delpy's got my vote for Best Actress this year, so far...

The opening... perfect.

The conversations... hit and miss in their believability, but they hit about 90% of the time.

Performances... extraordinary.

Fantastic use of flashbacks.

Fantastic use of music.

The ending... perfect.

This film's got my favorite scene of the year... the scene in Delpy's apartment, especially the song. Wow. I was breathless with the seemingly effortless beauty of the whole scene.

Are they both in the wrong for the way they're handling their relationship? Absolutely. Are they a model couple? Absolutely not. Do I love them anyway? I'm crazy about them.

Movie of the year? Not quite. But at this point it's about even with Eternal Sunshine. It's a great year for memorable couples on the big screen.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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DVD will be released on 11/9. You can also pick it up with Before Sunrise in a 2-pack.

And no, I still haven't seen it yet. (I know! I know!)

Edited by Clint M

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