Sunday, November 14, 2004

After I watched Before Sunrise, it quickly became one of my favorite films. I saw it when it first came out in 1995 and I have not seen it again since then. The film is about two strangers, a French woman and an American man, who meet on a train. They both get off in Vienna and they share thoughts, affections, and past experiences during one 14-hour tryst. The film ends when the French woman boards a train. They agree to meet back in Vienna in six months without exchanging addresses, phone numbers, or anything.

The film touched the romantic side of me and it was an experience I could relate to. Having traveled alone through Europe while studying there both as an undergraduate and graduate student, I met many people. On occasion I met fascinating women with whom there was a romantic spark (this was before I met Sara, of course), but nothing ever came of these enounters. At most there were some nice dinners and interesting conversation. After these experiences, I would think to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool/romantic if...?" The film was the response to my musing...

Last night I watched the sequel, Before Sunset. The film jumps back into the lives of the two characters nine years later. It answers the question whether these two people met up again in Vienna and it explores what they have done with their lives. I loved this film too. It mutes the naive romanticism of the first film with the cynicism of the realities life throws at you. Yet it also rekindles the romance that lies in the souls of people.

While I don't relate to the direct experiences of the two characters anymore, I do share some of the realizations they discovered as they grew older.

The fact that I thoroughly enjoyed these two movies reveals the consistent struggle within me between the romantic, the pragmatist, and the cynic. I do not know if this makes me a balanced person or one that should be medicated...

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