Sunday, November 28, 2004

[Film] Comparing Sunrise and Sunset.

Shouldn’t Before Sunrise and Before Sunset have a similar feel? Both films have a couple strolling through a European city learning about each other’s thoughts, feelings, philosophies on life – and their attitudes towards love. Well, there are some fundamental differences between the two.

First, the first film can stand alone – while I only think about Before Sunset as a companion piece, to compare against Before Sunrise.

Secondly, Sunrise takes place over one night while Sunset is set in (basically) real time – about 70 minutes of their lives as they meet for the first time in 10 years.

A more important difference is that we come to Before Sunset with questions we want answered. What have Jesse and Celine been up to in the intervening 10 years? Did they keep their promise at the end of the movie? The characters have gone from being mysterious strangers we’re meeting for the first time to people with histories - they've transformed from archetypes into very specific people … people whose lives we care about.

Before Sunset is also a much more dramatically focused film than Before Sunrise. The first film is about getting to know the characters and settling in with them like you’d settle in with a good book. It’s also about the fun of watching a relationship emerge. In this second movie, Celine and Jesse are testing each other. As soon as it starts, we know they once made a commitment to each other and the rest of the film asks “How much does this person mean to me?” It’s not about introductions anymore, it’s about what’s going to happen in the rest of their lives.

No comments: