[The following article first appeared in my weekly column for Scribido Magazine dated 23 April, 2012]
I kind of see this all love as this, escape for two people who don't know how to be alone. People always talk about how love is this totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, there's nothing more selfish. - Jesse, Before Sunrise
The above quote defines the brimming romance between the lead pair of Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply. Before Sunrise (1995 and its sequel, Before Sunset (2004) are the kind of love stories that just goes with the flow, unhindered, uninhibited. It also defies logic why such a film would work in the first place. Long shots taken, just two people conversing all the time, moving in narrow spaces across the city. It is nothing but surreal. But at the same time over the course of both the movies, there is an unearthed magnetism that you as an audience ultimately surrender.
Before Sunrise revolving around the theme of self-discovery through another person hits all the right notes in the right way. But that route is not easy. It questions all the romantic delusions we have been bestowed on for ages, it questions the romantic clues thrown via popular cultural media references and most importantly, it questions our existence in this fragmentary, selfish world. In a world where relationships are slowly becoming transient, filled with confusion and anticipation.. the world of Celine and Jesse provides hope and happiness of that one special person.
Before Sunset unfolds at a languid pace between the lead couple who has a decade of loneliness to share with each other. It possesses that rare, strange hybrid of incandescent emotions and real life messiness; interspersed with sublime yet grounded dialogues. It brings about a gamut of buried emotions within them - parenthood, sexually void marriage and a series of failed relationships. Every inch of them registers the weight of the moment - acute, honest and emotionally naked. Both of them wear their heart on their sleeves and an aesthetic achievement keeps the fun going. . It is engaging, yet so heartbreaking at times. It makes you root for the characters, yet you can't help seeing the irony in their words and actions. Both of them are older and (apparently) wiser and the wide disregard to the usual cliches in the screenplay makes their conversations just so damn fascinating.
It is the most unabashedly romantic slice of life one would ever see in cinema. If you feel low, if you feel high, if you feel love, if you feel romance; It is not at all a bad idea to revisit both of these movies. It just feels magical once again. All over again.