Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All over Paris

After watching the more recent 2 days in Paris where it was basically a whirlwind of madness in rapidfire franglish, I finally got around to watching the much loved Before Sunset. I haven't yet watched Before Sunrise but I most certainly will, eventually. Anyway, rather unsurprisingly I was quite enraptured. The dialogue kept with a constant momentum, never losing speed, both actors maintaining the rhythm seamlessly all the while strolling through Paris at midday.

The great interaction conveyed very efficiently the fact that these two people hadn't seen each other for nine years and had so much to catch up on, so much to say to each other, so much they long to know yet so many questions are left unasked, so many things left unsaid or blurted out but quickly taken back or shrugged off as a joke so that the other is never really quite certain whether it was indeed a joke or an unguarded moment of sincerity.

There are so many what ifs that makes the story so real, all the doubts that we feel, the opportunities we may have missed, all our insecurites coming to the fore. How we want so much but sometimes aren't brave enough to lay it all out and open ourselves to the possibility of being rejected or hurt.

The characters aren't perfect, she's charmingly neurotic, he's perhaps a little staid maybe even slightly boring but together they make an interesting pair. But I think what Celine said just before they arrived at henri quatre is true, if they had met in Vienna as planned, they probably would have drove each other mad or ended up hating each other before long. Their brief interludes are like little vignettes in life, everything's exciting and perfect but not meant to last.

Regardless, I really enjoyed it and the movie ended too soon. I can't believe I absent-mindedly bought two copies of the DVD at different times over the past few years but took so long to finally decide it was time to watch it. Did you know the director Richard Linklater would only shoot scenes during mid-late afternoon in Paris because he felt it would add to the hyper reality of the film as that's the time during which the film plays out. Of course, the fact that Paris is bathed in the the most flattering and romantic rosy glow just "before sunset" also adds to the wonderfully nostalgic atmosphere.

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