Friday, July 19, 2013

Before Midnight

Jan and I took a few hours off from parenting duties and asked Tito Ninong to watch over Alon while we watched "Before Midnight."  

It was definitely worth it. :)

My generation fell-in-love and matured (?) with Jesse and Celine since 1995.  It began with that one night in Vienna after meeting on the train in Before Sunrise.  The movie ends with both agreeing to see each other at the same place six months after. The movie left viewers to guess (or hope) that they meet again.

Nine years after we find out that Jesse did go but Celine couldn't make it because her grandmother had died.  They see each other again, both a bit more broken and angry since their last encounter.  They have had relationships but neither happy.  The movie ends at Celine's apartment, with Jesse possibly missing his flight home.  Viewers can only guess if he did stay or leave.

It took another nine years for an answer.  He stayed. She got pregnant. They live together seemingly happy.

The "Before..." Trilogy (for now) is not a typical romance movie.  I'm not even sure if it is supposed to be a romance movie.  All they do is talk and talk and talk within one long shot.  They jump from one topic to another just flowing with their thoughts and ideas.  And while most talkies would bore audiences to death, these movies have got me riveted, paying full attention to what they are saying and not saying, eager to know what's on their minds.

While watching Before Midnight, I was laughing and slapping Jan during so many scenes, scenes that was just so close to home.  At the end, I was teary-eyed.

After a while, I realized that there was really nothing special about Jesse and Celine.  Other than their one night in Vienna, they are just as mundane and as ordinary as any couple.  And that is probably why I love the movies very much.  That their relationship centers so much on conversation.  It is not about a magical moment or grand events like what most rom-coms would like to portray.  It is about how they can just carry on talking and thinking together and talking some more.  It does not mean they necessarily understand each other or communicate well.  But they just communicate somehow.

Jesse and Celine are Jan and I.  Or some other couples I know.  Take a snippet of our lives, those times that we talk, imagine it on film, and voila.  We have our own Before Sunrise or Sunset or Midnight.

I love Before Midnight the most.  It ends open again.  And again,looking at our  own lives, it is open-eded because our stories do not really end.  We just keep on adding chapters.  That "yes" to our partners during a proposal does not mean a yes to him/her forever.  We constantly work for our yeses.  Our yes today would be different from our yes tomorrow.  But life and love will always ask that question every day, other days more urgent than others, "do you still choose him/her?"  And every day we have to answer, one way or the other.  We have to answer despite our insecurities and fears.  Whatever the circumstance.

Today I say yes.


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