Friday, April 07, 2006
Before the Looming End
I have tried very hard, several times, to write about Linklater's Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Unfortunately I'm still not able to sculpt the highly emotional content of my relationship to them into something intelligible & usable for other people. I do have a certain amount of notes on these films; I do have material I can use. What I don't yet have is a writer's critical engagement (whether "critical distance" or "critical intimacy," pace some recent Sontag discussion). Consider this a 'coming attraction' for a long piece I will write ... eventually. Hopefully soon.
I will at least offer one pretty basic observation, the gist of which pleases me. At first, Celine is a romantic and perhaps even a mystical believer (she believes in love; she believes in reincarnation) and Jesse is a skeptic, a bit of a pessimist. By the second film, Celine is more world-weary, she comes across as the pragmatist and the agnostic; Jesse has softened into a romantic, himself. These aren't reversals of character: they remain "believable," they are evolutionary, developmental. But why the developments? Over the intervening nine years from their first meeting their daily mundane realities--their very personalities--have been marked by their profound subconscious yearnings into the ideal images each has of the other--which have no doubt manifested themselves in countless tantalizing dreams (cf. Waking Life).
P.S. If one goes here one can read an article on the two films by an esteemed reader of Elusive Lucidity (though that's of course the very least of his descriptors!) ...