The ellipsis above, as you might have guessed, is to mean sunrise, sunset and midnight. Before Sunrise, a movie released in 1995, is about two people who meet in Vienna and walk as they talk till Sunrise. Before Sunset, which released almost a decade hence, in 2004, is about the same two people, who meet again though this time in Paris, and walk as they talk till Sunset. There is also a scene in a café where they sit and discuss US gun policy but that’s beside the point. And in Before Midnight, released in 2013, the setting is Greece, while the walk as they talk holds again, not surprisingly till Midnight. And the movie, each of them, is a luscious slice of life.
Imagine a movie where two characters talk, talk about themselves, about the other, about what they think of this world we live in and the issues therein. Starting with the reticence of talking to a stranger, with that scintillating thrill of a new romance; through confiding in someone whom you feel at ease with and have come to trust, to arguing and hurting someone you know will stay by your side when you are hurt, the movies capture the process of two people coming to know the other.
If you think about it, a person, at any given point in time, is a collection of thoughts and memories. Leading from this premise, to know a person and be known only becomes an act of speaking and listening. And these movies capture people in this very act, alive, wherein amidst lots and lots of words, they familiarize and know about the other, as we come to about them. There are few for whom, a movie sometimes is a window to experience life from a different vantage point. For them, an honest portrayal becomes of paramount importance. This movie, while all honest and sincere, manages to frame life, people, and the ordinary, in a convincing tapestry of poignancy.
For serious movie watchers, and of course readers with a taste for Classics, I strongly recommend this Before series. It’s a treat.