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1995

Directed by Richard Linklater

Writing credits according to the WGA:
I just watched this movie again to be able to do it justice in this writeup and it brought home again the fact that this is one hell of a movie. I love it. It appeals to me in so many ways, that I can't begin to describe them all. But anyway, this writeup should be about the movie, not about me or my feelings towards it.

It's all about dialog. In fact, the whole film is dialog. And guess what? That's what makes this such a good movie. The dialog is real, it makes sense, and it makes it interesting. It's all there, nothing is left out. The mistakes, the stutters, the hesitations, the meaningless monologues, the semi-heated discussion, the awkward silences. And the comfortable silences, too. It is such a relief to watch a movie where a sentence uttered by one of the leads is answered with simple silence. It's not ignored. It's answered by the silence. Brilliant... and not to mention real. How many times has it not happened to you in a conversation? The other person says something that could warrant a vocal response by you, but instead you keep silent, letting the silence answer for you.

The story this film tells is as basic as it gets. Two people meet, spend time together, fall in love and then say goodbye. That, in a nutshell, is the whole movie. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train traveling through Europe. His destination is Vienna, where a flight back to America awaits him the next morning, while she's on her way to Paris. They have a meal in the lounge car together, and when the train reaches Vienna they realize they're having a good time and don't really want to break off their conversation yet. So Jesse persuades Celine to get off in Vienna with him, to keep him company as he wanders around the city through the night.

The rest of the movie works out the wandering night of these two people as they get to know and love one another. It seems as if it was taken out of real life, and maybe that is what appeals to me most. I can imagine this happening to two people, if only they have enough guts to do it. I would like to think that I had enough guts, but I'm not so sure. I hope someday I'll find out.

Apparantly, there is to be a sequel, called Before Sunset, which is about a second chance meeting of the two main characters years later in France. Even though most sequels are not worth the celluloid they are printed on, this might possibly work.



Sources:
IMDB: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0112471
Talking Movies: a film critique show on BBC World; this gave me the heads up on the existence of Before Sunset

August 20, 2001

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