The Before Trilogy and random thoughts

I’ll be honest, I’m a bimbo movie go-er. That means, my preference is always going to movies or watching movies to be mind numbed. Case in point – Godzilla, The Equalizer, John Wick, Edge of Tomorrow… the movie needs to be a) Lots of killing b) Super big special effects c) Not much thinking involved.

However, every once in a while, some inspired thing called ‘time’ shows up at my door and I find that I have some good movies, like really good movies to crunch through. I was on my way to Japan (I can’t sleep on flights) and managed to watch two good ones – the first was the One Hundred Foot Journey – excellent. But the second – Boyhood – was just amazing. Google ‘Boyhood’ and you will understand what so special about this movie.

Anyway, I became very curious of the director Richard Linklater and found that he directed other movies – and some of them I’ve heard before but never got to watch–the Before trilogy. It’s three movies – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight that followed the lives of two people, separated by 9 years each movie. The thing about it, like Boyhood, it’s actually real-time. Meaning, it’s REALLY 9 years between the movies and not just the word “9 years later” and then makeup to make the actors look older or younger. It’s ridiculous.

It helps to have Ethan Hawke who is a very underated actor to be honest. I think he’s up there with Christian Bale but just never got the breaks. And Julie Delphy, who is of course, this amazing French actress who can really act (watch the scene in Before Midnight in the hotel room and you will understand).

Anyway, I won’t go into the movies, but if you have the time, watch the Before Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight in sequence. You won’t regret it.

It doesn’t have much drama or plot…just a LOT of talking. I mean, I never knew conversation could be so enjoyable to watch, but it is. There is like a sequence of 20 minutes of long takes of both of them (Celine and Jesse in the movie), just talking. Why is it interesting? Well, for anyone who had ever gone on any relationship – this really reflects a little of what we go through.

Awkward talking in the beginning – natural flow of conversation after a while. I recall in my college years, when you know, we were starting to move from oogling girls, to getting to know them – there were exactly those times when I was just walking and talking with a girl, exchanging ideas, philosophies, opinions. In Australia, there were plenty. Most of them were just very close friends who remain close till today, but one or two were actually people I would develop a deeper relationship with…and of course, one of them happened to be my wife today. We would go on long walks and talks, similar to the movie, and I guess that’s why it’s so relatable and watchable. It was like having our own lives being played out on screen. The mundane, yet interesting subjects we would so randomly touch on. The jokes that didn’t work. The transitionary vision of people and things.

The last is actually very vivid in the scene in Before Sunrise, where Jesse and Celine asks direction from two guys at the bridge in Vienna. They start talking and the guys invite them for a play that night, and we all think, well, that’s part of the plot. They would go to the play and have fun with the locals and develop some drama. But only….no. As the movie meander on, no other appearance from the guys at the bridge and they did not go to the play, instead hanging out alone playing pinball at a random bar. Only in the morning did Jesse passingly joked: “You know what – we didn’t go to that play.”

It’s just genius. Because that’s how we are at life. Everything and everyone is somewhat transitionary, especially if two people are in love…they forget others, not out of selfishness, but out of nature. Victor Hugo, the dude who wrote Les Mis said: “Loving is almost a substitute for thinking. Love is a burning forgetfulness of all other things.”

Sometimes, my literary side comes up, amidst all the rants on golf and hacking courses. If you have time to waste and want to watch 3 movies before you get married, or just got married, or having some issues with the other half – watch these 3 movies. Love isn’t so much of a feeling, after a while; it’s more of a decision and a lot of work. But I think to many of us, it’s worth it.

Best scenes of the movies:

a) Before Sunrise – the part where both of them pretended to be talking to their best friends over the phone (they were actually pretend-calling each other across the table) about their feelings for the other person. Genius. I should have used that as my go-to ‘kau-lui’ move in college!

b) Before Sunset – the apartment scene, I guess, when Julie Delphy (Celine) played the song about Ethan Hawke (Jesse) on the guitar about the previous meeting 9 years back. It was written by her actually and it’s actually a good waltz!

c) Before Midnight - by far, the final argument scene in the hotel room. It’s so real. It’s like me and my wife battering each other verbally before calling a truce, then battering again, then calling a truce and finally me trying to crack a joke to solve everything. Modus Operandi!

OK, have a great week and Happy hacking!

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