January 12, 2014

Before Sunrise

Richard Linklater, 1995
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is aboard a train on it's way to Vienna, Austria. When an argument erupts between a couple on the other end of the cart, Celine (Julie Delpy) decides to relocate. She happens to sit across from Jesse, who strikes up conversation. They feel the immediate connection together, and Celine decides to get off in Vienna so that they can spend the night together.

Linklater's first installment in what would eventually become the first of other "Before" films is a beautiful dialogue-filled picture focusing on the origin of love between two strangers. Two people from opposite sides of the world who encounter each other by chance on a train. The discomfort of hearing another couple fighting places them right next to each other almost like magnetic force. And so it plays out, like you're witness to the best first date ever. Charming American Jesse, who is a curious traveler with abstract ideas about things like life and death and the universe meets the naturally beautiful and warm Parisian Celine. There is a bit of a complimentary dynamic between the two. They walk the cobblestone streets of Vienna, sharing stories of their past and ideas about the future. They are truly living in the moment, both unsure of the future but knowing that there is something organic happening - even if it's for that one solitary night in Austria. And Austria is a kind city to them, letting them indulge as they glide through the night like its their personal playground. Poetry, music, mysticism fills the night air. As the night lingers on, they can feel the impending separation and it only feels more and more difficult. But what can they do about it, with the distance between them? He lives in America, and she lives in France. And while the clock ticks, the attraction emanates. Linklater's romantic drama really works, because it feels really authentic between Jesse and Celine. 

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