Before Sunrise – Transient of love

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Love is, as we know, a mystifying and controlling potency. Love is something that strikes you like brain waves. It enchants you, demand you, shapes you into something different and, fabricates outright prodigious, though it’s virtually unanticipated. Love is a multidimensional notion in that it can be seen in different ways. Love can be perceived in any subject involving belief, rectitude, and perspective, among others. Love can be transmitted in numerous manners. We have to be aware that love impairs when expressed or not expressed correspondingly. Even if others render us a plethora of love, we may not be able to sense it. It is facile to inculpate others for not loving us. Still, it much depends on our inner self, whether it has the potentiality to feel it from someone else.

Love as the concept we have seen and heard of many love stories, which has presented to us differently from the most traditional way of falling love to loving an artificial intelligence system. Many filmmakers have attempted to capture the raw emotion and intrinsic intricacies of love. But Before Sunrise (1995) is something which turns out unique in its own way and entirely different from others. Have you ever thought of spending your last night in a city with a stranger? Well, that’s how the story of Before Sunrise starts.

There are moments when you feel the throb of life into your skin. It does not matter if it is during the day or at night or if it is winter or summer. The only thing that matters is the essence of moments and silent ecstasy of elapsing times. Similarly, the plot of Before Sunrise is about those moments between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). Jesse is an American tourist, and Celine is a student returning to Paris. Jesse and Celine find a likeness in one another, take to the café cart of the train, and decide to spend remaining time together in Vienna. Later, they will go their separate way as Jesse has a flight back to states the next day.

“Jump ahead ten, twenty years, okay? And you’re married, only your marriage doesn’t have that same energy that it used to have, you know? You start to blame your husband. You start to think about all those guys you met in your life and what might’ve happened if you picked up with one of them, alright? Well, I’m one of those guys. That’s me. So think of this as time travel, from then to now, to find out what you’re missing out on.”

In this scene, Jesse tells the reality of disappointment. Where we recall the incident repetitively thinking we could have or should have done more. The plot revolves around both of them throughout the film as they only have one night to spend, which is why the movie is named. The film exists in those interactive crevices, the uneasiness of first interactions and the shyness around a person you find attractive. They talk to each other in the vulnerable and remarkably spontaneous way. That people sometimes fall into strangers who they don’t expect to meet again, discussing everything from the city, life and romance, and relationships. They come back to the same topics repeatedly: aspiration, magic, beliefs and love. The tone is pensive and dreamlike but never lumbering; the story goes with an engaging flow that feels natural. In Celine’s own words,

“If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing, something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed…But who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.”

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Overall the story is bittersweet. It shows you the genesis of a romance. Two strangers falling in deep conversations, spending time, and sharing moments acting silly, listening, and watching closely. The first manifestation of something compatible with a potential relationship begins to blossom. And despite knowing ending moments, you desire. After all that is what romance is all about.

It’s been 25 years since before Sunrise has come. However, still, it feels very relevant to the present day happenings. Written and directed by well-regarded Richard Linklater, the movie is almost a real life story. Linklater’s inspiration for the story came from a meeting he had with a stranger woman in Philadelphia, with whom he spent the entire night with. Talking and wandering around. The movie is a free-flowing realistic conversation that features the characters pushing one another’s boundaries and trying to inaugurate ideas of themselves before they unwind into versions infinitely more verifiable than where they started – Jesse being free spirit cynical and even grandiose at first, while Celine is clam, self-reliant and metaphysical; which makes you soak into moments they create. The story celebrates the new romance and free spirit of its characters. It acknowledges that young and charming love, have a saddening inclination to vanish. Yet the film deals with this actuality not with melodrama but rather with a lovely reminiscent that lingers not awful after its end.

Out of many great scenes in the movie, two scenes deserve more credit and attention. The first scene when they both steps into a booth and listen to “Come Here” by Kath Bloom without exchanging a single word. They are attempting to steal glimpses of each other while shyly avoiding direct eye contact. There is a longing in their faces which captures the effects of two people falling in love and creating a moment. In the second scene, when jesse and Celine says each other adieu, we will see the rising sun and awaken city with several shorts of different spots in Vienna they visited. No exchanging words, no characters just representation of locations like reminiscing a moment.

This story hints that we’re persistently searching for someone to turn on the fire that happens to be within us always – we are the indispensable elements to the wonder in escapade and the fascination in wandering. Perhaps if we closely see at everything as definite, and viscerally understood the secular nature of the universe, we would value our every moment as Jesse and Celine value their one night together. Maybe we will appreciate all the moments of our life. Before Sunrise stands the attempt of time, as well as the tedious nature of its types and the different caliber of presentation and utilization because it takes something we’re all very close with. It feels like you and me, but mostly it feels like them. A “them” we can relate and connect, who is going to stay in our mind book.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

The movie is a must-watch in case you have not seen it yet, it’s a perennial piece of cinema in which modern viewers will find the motion to an era before the trap of social media began to disparage us. It is the most longing and optimistic of the films, flies in the face of other vigorous love stories for the thematic eminence it gives to the transient of love over time.


Arpit Nayak


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