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Thread: BEFORE SUNSET: A Review

  1. #31
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    To arsaib4

    I have so often seen people smoke in recent movies and wondered if they really don't smoke in real life, and if doing it for a film got them hooked. Unfortunately when you're 14 or 20 you don't think you're ever going to die and don't experience any ill effects so smoking doesn't worry you. I've heard that River Phoenix was required to smoke in his second film, Stand by Me, and that started him. Of course he was full of terrible contradictions, but he was one American who was a vegan and passionate animal rights and environmental activist (he wouldn't wear leather) who smoked, apart from all the other things he took up of an addictive nature. What I'm leading up to is that Ethan Hawke smokes, plenty, in real life, and Julie Delpy is French, so the chances are she has no compunctions about smoking; and there's nothing unusual about people smoking in a cafe or a restaurant because it's not restricted. It's unlikely they would smoke just for effect. The idea that their doing so while talking about environmentalism shows their contradictions is also a good and natural one, but whether this is Linklater's "intention" we don't know unless he says so. Moreover I repeat I really don't think in Europe being an enviro and smoking would likely be seen as contradictory because, I have to keep repeating it because it doesn't seem to be getting through, in Europe like in most of the rest of the world, everywhere but the world of the American white middle class, smoking isn't frowned on and is almost universal. One of the reasons Johnny Depp has given for liking to live in France is their attitude toward smoking. If you're a chain smoker and live in Berkeley like a Japanese artist friend of mine it means being treated like a pariah, and it's bad enough to know you have a bad habit, you don't want to be looked at funny all the time. You thought it improbable that anyone here would have seen 80% of Rohmer's output, but I think I have, and I can't think of any long pauses in conversations in the ones about men and women's relationships. What they do is have structural breaks because the films are segmented into meetings and days. Linklater as has been pointed out in connection with Before Sunset likes to work in real time, and decided to do that by giving Jessie a plane to catch. Real time means the pressure of time and as you say, in this case the pressure to get everything said. A narrative chopped up into fragments has no sense of urgency as a whole. Of course Jessie decides to miss his plane and the conversation is coming to an end some time soon as the film ends. We get our long awaited break from conversation in the final moments with Celine's song and then the big break, the film's end, comes and the beauty of it is we imagine things are just about to begin.

  2. #32
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    You seem to be repeating what I said earlier and at the same time responding to more than what's necessary. I did take everything in consideration before responding to Howard. I don't know French by accident, I lived in Marseille for about 5 years and I am aware of the attitude that exists not just in France but throughout Europe towards smoking. Whether that's right or wrong is another discussion, I didn't judge that earlier thus that part of your response doesn't apply to me. Talk to your other fellow N. Americans. Also I didn't make any comments regarding what Rohmer does in my previous post but mentioned that Sunrise should've been brought up more often. Too bad not many people saw it (especially before watching Sunset) as it only adds to the viewing and the discussion afterwards.

    Of course Linklater is the only one that can answer this specifically but I don't believe it was an accident; either way it worked for this audience member now living in America.

  3. #33
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    I plead guilty to letting my pen flow freely and not responding precisely to your points. But how was I to know that you had lived a long time in Marseille?

    If many viewers of the new Linklater film haven't seen the earlier one, after all they are nine years apart. That the new one is richer for knowing the first is something I commented on in my original review that started this thread, in my second sentence. As for my "fellow N. Americans," they constitute the main readers on this site, so I need not address myself especially to them; everything we write is consumed by them. I will now bear in mind that you are a special case, a person with a European background. I addressed myself to you to show your last post was my starting point, but Howard has been the prime mover lately, and the Rohmer discussion is one that has played a key role on this thread--you participated too, so I thought you would welcome a comment on the use of pauses, a point that has come up lately, from Howard.

    In my last post I said a lot about smoking. You may feel this was a pointless ramble, but I'd thought it important to develop this theme if we're to make any sense out of what to me seemed a completely incidental moment in Before Sunset. The whole reason for all this talk is that Howard Schumann made a big fuss about it. He fairly rejected the whole film because of it. I like your interpretation better, though I still think it's a bit fanciful. If Linklater is doing what you say with the smoking, he's a subtler ironist than I realized, but the irony is blunted by the French setting. What this may mean is that perhaps Howard is right and the Parisian background is just "postcard" pictures and, because the director is American, socially and intellectually we are not really in France. I think it's just as good a refutation of Howard's fuss to say the cigarettes don't mean much of anything, they're just part of the furniture of the scene. Howard is having recourse as he tends to do -- that is his approach to reviewing films, and it can be a valuable one -- to evaluating the film on idealistic and moral rather than social or aesthetic grounds. I'd say the film is about people very like the real people who play the characters, and hence it all gets rather muddled.

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