December 06, 2009

A Night, a Day, and Nine Lost Years...

If there is one movie that I would strongly recommend to anybody and everybody, it is Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995). Recommending movies is a tricky business. It depends on how good the movie is, how much you like it yourself, as your recommendation reflects your taste, and also on whether you expect the person to love it, which is the main reason for this entire 'dude-recommend-me-a-kickass-movie' thing. And there is another angle to it. The movie you recommend should be fairly easily available. There is no point in recommending a movie which is nowhere to be found!

Before Sunrise is a movie I can keep watching forever. In fact, I don't want it to end. It is also substantially 'different' from the 'usual' commercial movies. It has great writing and memorable performances. It stays with you. It is something you can watch alone, or with your beloved, or with anyone. I can watch it with my Mom. And it is extremely unlikely that you would not like this movie. It is like a beautiful song that moves you regardless of your tastes and notions and preferences. And it is available. I am sure most of you have watched it. If not, just check the nearest college hostel.

If you watch it, and like it, and want some more of it, stop here and don't read further.

I suppose you are reading anyway, so just let me talk. Nine years after this movie, after making the poetic and philosophic Waking Life (2001) and the uplifting The School of Rock (2003), another film no one can hate, Linklater made a sequel to Before Sunrise. It was called Before Sunset (2004). I really envy those who actually waited nine years for the sequel. Because it is a long time to change you, just the way the characters in the movie changed. I also cherished the experience of both movies, but I envy them because I could never wait for those nine years. I missed the waiting, and growing, and changing, and realizing the change. So, if you loved the first part. Do not go for the second. Wait for nine years. I guarantee you, you'll never regret this suggestion of mine.

I know that is impractical to suggest and impossible to do, esp. if you loved Before Sunrise. So, just do one thing. Postpone watching the second. As long as you can. I had a three-month gap. It served me fairly well.

Oh, just forget about it. Ignore the entire post. GO FOR THESE TWO MOVIE TODAY! Something beautiful is about to happen in your lives...


  1. Did you actually wait three months for the sequel or had to wait because the movie was unavailable ;-)

  2. ha ha ha
    I was dying to watch the sequel as soon as the first part ended.
    but had to wait coz it was unavailable.

    in fact, perhaps it is impossble to wait if you already have it with you.

  3. liked the first one ..loved the second ..then watched the first again ...they might as well have credited the cities as supporting actors ....i liked the sequel more ( just by a bit ) ..whats your take :) ..i just thought scripting the second part would have been a bit more difficult with the characters already established and the freedom to shape the situations a bit crippled by the first movie ..but i dunno ..might have been a lot easier for the very same reasons ...

  4. Even I thought that second one was a bit better, but for a different reason. I found the interactions between the actors much more mature.

  5. i think both the movies were splendid.i loved that amazing chemistry.Unsaid,undefined and yet a bond so strong.Even after nine long years it took them hardly a minute to start a conversation, with the same ease and trust.Sometimes I wonder how beautiful can some random relationships get! True, blood is not always thicker than water...

  6. yes ..the conversation and the sequences were definitely more mature in the sequel perhaps to account for the passage of 9 years in their lives ... certain scenes just dont fade away the one in the taxi or the last part of the sequel ( with the waltz)...

  7. @myworld:
    "they might as well have credited the cities as supporting actors"
    So true!

    I haven't yet compared the two. May be I will after some re-watches.

    But the best thing I felt after the sequel was: It was not just the lead actors who have matured during the past nine years, even the director has matured. It shows. And by this I don't mean there is a definite improvement over the craft. It is the maturity of point of view, the way you look at life and love and relationships. The maturing of the characters was obvious, given the change in physical appearance, it becomes evident. But I really appreciate how effortlessly the growth in the director as an individual shows. This is why I always like personal 'auteur' films over genre films. These films are the way the 'author' (writer-director) looks at the world.

    Guess that explains the unanimous opinion that the sequel was better.

  8. A question for all of you here.
    Have you watched Linklater's 'Waking Life'?
    Please watch it ASAP if you haven't.
    And tell me what you thought of it.
    BTW, it also has a scene between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

  9. one more off track thing ...have you guys watched 'lost in translation' ...went through through a quite similar train of thoughts while watching this movie as the ones in 'before sunrise' ... although 'lost in ..' dealt more with alienation at a very personal level but the way things panned out and the quite astute use of the city backdrop , made the two movies quite relatable in craft..

  10. 'Lost in Translation' is indeed mentioned every time 'Before' movies are discussed.
    I had watched LIT the year it got released and the director got an Academy nomination for that.

    I didn't have much idea of cinema then and we all wondered why it is so acclaimed. Now, without even watching it again, I think I have started appreciating it.

    I am going for a re-watch ASAP. It would be interesing this time. For sure.

  11. watch 'groundhog day' as well if you have not already ..although its not right up there ...but bill murray stands out again ...

  12. 'Groundhog Day', in my opinion, is there. Very much there.

    The only difference is that it has operated within the confines of commercial cinema and Linklater has always been off-beat.

    While watching 'Groundhog Day' I was like: "when it comes to entertaining you,no one does it better than Hollywood."