Dear Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
We meet once again. You are, and always will be, an ethereal experience that makes me catch my breath and part my lips in breathless awe. As I spend this immensely satisfying time with you in such lush perspective, I take an internal moment to wonder at your magic and unfolding awareness.
What is it? How does it work? Where do I become a melded part of your whole? When does the astonishment seep in? Vital questions, that are all hard to pin down. As I ponder something immediate comes to mind and that is your effortless rapport. The conversations of learning between fresh faced kids is a marvel to behold and to see it unfold in the Vienna setting with immaculate cinematography, some of the longest uncut scenes ever filmed and a natural environment, is like seeing renaissance art coming to life in with all the spectacular detail of the artists eye and creative vision. Intoxicating may begin to describe it a little.
Then there is the dialog. It may very well be some of the best discussion and natural feeling conversational flow ever put to film. Its realism and natural feel stand as a testament to a director that turns his actors loose to explore far past the boundary of a situation and wallow in all the glorious spontaneity of the present moment. It is a marvel and when the small moments that mean so much occur to nurture the connection between them, it feels wholly and completely organic. As I view it, I never for one second don’t believe this is a real moment in life and time. So few movies can approach that rarefied space, that when both of your films do it, it doesn’t boggle the mind at the realization, but rather brings smiles, emotional connection and chuckles of knowing that confirms this reality playing before my eyes.
The laughs are genuine, the tender moments are as well and they are all the more believable for their uncertainty. I understand, as an older man, when I watch Jesse’s youthful cockiness coexisting with genuine affability, I nod with knowing and a wry shake of the head when Celine takes the situation by the hand to kiss him and tell him little secrets about her life and heart. This sharing and baring of her young heart, comes across as the precious gift it truly is in real life. He responds and intuitively knows it is something magical and he lets her into his heart with an open hand.
The torpor of the night, the slow dawning of morning and the angst of impending separation are all perfect and seamless and when it comes. Even though I see it coming from a mile away it still wrenches my heart. I know it wrenches everyone’s heart who sees it, too. But I comfort myself that 6 months isn’t that far away.
But it isn’t 6 months.
When I first saw you, spent time with you and wondered, I never imagined it would end up being 9 long years, before the rest of the tale could be told. I had given up and resigned myself to the glory that was the first encounter with no thought of ever seeing any more. But as I am wont to do with you, I forgive this hardship and grievance. I mean, damn, I fell in love with you that first time and shared romance you never see except when it happens to someone else.
But you were young, romantic and foolish and didn’t trust to the usual backup of telephone and address if 6 months wasn’t going to work. Alas, that’s the way it goes. And though the kismet re-acquaintance didn’t occur, it was like so much with real life and with you, understandable. And when real life sucks it will suck on a 9 year time frame, wont it!
So, as authorship would have it and Celine’s luck would provide, you get to meet again. This time it is … a more mature encounter. Life has tempered both of you. You carved your place in the world. Or at least that is how things begin. Is there some magic left, some ardor, or has time weathered out the romantic notions of younger days? Yes perhaps a little, but not completely and the most amazing thing is, it is there but … different. We find the tension of one making it back to Vienna at 6 months and the other unable to be there, creates a catalyst to so many things between Jesse and Celine. But what is instantly apparent is the unaltered, undeniable gravity well between them. Like celestial bodies orbiting tightly together and meant to do exactly that!
So, as you enlighten and re-acquaint, there are truths unspoken and angst laid bare that was previously unexpressed and how that evolves is a real epiphany! I find as I always do with you, that I am grateful, very grateful to see this expression between them and your creation is all the more special because of it! I know them, and when confessions come and emotion is portrayed, it is powerful, yet, in the end it is your song, your waltz after his confession of where his heart always remained, that brings such cherished gratitude and peace. For one thing I cherished learning the personal lesson as an older man, that a woman does not bare her soul unless she does it with full intent and all herself and a man will not be vulnerable until he does so with all of who he is to her mercy. This you remind me with such eloquence and aplomb that it ties me to you for evermore.
Just like you know as the film fades out that they are also tied to each other for evermore!
With untarnished adoration,