Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (part deux: on Celine)

Have you watched the movies? πŸ˜€ I am writing this second part of my review on the movies because particularly, I was very surprised that I relate to Celine’s character so damn well it almost scares me.

1. Celine comes from a good, well-educated family which left her with apparently nothing to complain about. Yet, she still faced the same struggle, she’s restless and always questioning the meaning of her existence in the world.

2. On the other hand, she admits:

I always feel this pressure of being a strong and independent icon of womanhood, and without making it look my whole life is revolving around some guy. But loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. We always make fun of it and stuff. But isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?

Oh my goodness, it is so true! While I’d like to say that my life is all about my career, you all can see that I DO care about my personal life (hence this blog πŸ˜› ).

3. In ‘Before Sunrise’ Celine told Jesse about her last boyfriend. He was totally beneath her in every way that she thought their being together as ‘she was doing him a favor’. He in fact, broke up with her. And the interesting thing is, Celine became obsessed with the guy, the guy she never loved anyway. Hahaha…I completely understand this paradox. I’ve been there πŸ˜€ I didn’t love my ex but when he broke up with me (sort of..he in fact just disappeared from my life) I was kind of obsessed. It was not an act out of love, instead it was all pride. I should have been the one who walked away (remember? during the time we’re together, I was merely doing you a favor πŸ˜› ).

4. Celine’s ex’es are all married. Well, one of my ex’es is married πŸ™‚ And most guys who used to court me are now happily ‘in a relationship’. Really, I never want to hook up with them in the first place. But I don’t know why I still sigh everytime I learn -the hard way- that my fan base is (arguably) non-existent πŸ˜€

5. She’s a Sag, just like me. She enjoys having her palm read by a Gypsy. And she believes in astrology “You’re a Scorpio, I’m a Sagittarius, that’s why we get along so well!” she said to Jesse.

6. Career aspiration. I really want to do what she does, putting her passion and turn into actions. She works for an international non-governmental organization doing things to make the world better.

7. Her take on soulmate:

The concept is absurd. The idea that we can only be complete with another person is evil! Right?

Oh yeah baby…this is the best-said remark on soulmate I ever hear!

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Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (part une)

Image courtesy of bruno-wp.blogspot.com

Image courtesy of bruno-wp.blogspot.com

I just watched the movies this week (yeah I know…where have I been?) πŸ˜› In fact, I had never heard about these treasures until I stumbled upon this. Dika said they are ‘thought-provoking’ and upon watching them myself, I have to agree with him on that.

Let me start off with the plot of the story. In ‘Before Sunrise’, American tourist Jesse and French student Celine meet by chance on the train from Budapest to Vienna. Sensing that they are developing a connection, Jesse asks Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna, and she agrees. Passing the time before his scheduled flight the next morning. the two embark on a spiritual and emotional odyssey. Bonding through the act of conversation, Jesse and Celine discover each other’s true essence – their hopes and dreams, their passions and peeves, and their wants and needs. (summary written by randywong@fairisaac.com).

I think you will agree with me that our chance of meeting a nice stranger with whom we can have a nice chat is 50-50. AND the probability of having a nice, deep, contemplative conversation for 14 HOURS with that stranger is almost zero, right? But here’s here. Our characters met on the train, exchanged ideas, and when the guy had to get off the train in Vienna, he asked her to go with him. He gave her an interesting rationalization:
Jesse: Yeah, right, well, great. So listen, so here’s the deal. This is what we should do. You should get off the train with me here in Vienna, and come check out the capital.
Celine: What?
Jesse: Come on. It’ll be fun. Come on.
Celine: What would we do?
Jesse: Umm, I don’t know. All I know is I have to catch an Austrian Airlines flight tomorrow morning at 9:30 and I don’t really have enough money for a hotel, so I was just going to walk around, and it would be a lot more fun if you came with me. And if I turn out to be some kind of psycho, you know, you just get on the next train.
Jesse: Alright, alright. Think of it like this: jump ahead, ten, twenty years, okay, and you’re married. Only your marriage doesn’t have that same energy that it used to have, y’know. You start to blame your husband. You start to think about all those guys you’ve met in your life and what might have happened if you’d picked up with one of them, right? Well, I’m one of those guys. That’s me y’know, so think of this as time travel, from then, to now, to find out what you’re missing out on. See, what this really could be is a gigantic favor to both you and your future husband to find out that you’re not missing out on anything. I’m just as big a loser as he is, totally unmotivated, totally boring, and, uh, you made the right choice, and you’re really happy.
Celine: Let me get my bag.

His rationalization turns out the other way around in the sequel, ‘Before Sunset’ (their second encounter after 9 years have passed). In reality, Celine didn’t get married and the scenario he presents more represents HIM. But instead of him being ‘big loser, totally unmotivated, totally boring’, he in fact is the best thing that ever happened to her. So while he’s selling the go-with-the-flow, it’s-not-a-big-deal mentality, in fact it IS a big deal, probably the most important choice she’ll ever make in her love life.

While ‘Before Sunrise’ sort of idealized a serendipitous encounter with ‘the one’ at its best, ‘Before Sunset’ brings us back to reality. They met again, after 9 years of separation. Well, they’re supposed to meet again 6 months after they parted in platform 9 in Vienna’s train station as they pledged each other but it never happened. So they met again in Paris. Jesse, now a writer (of which about that night they met), on the last stop of his book tour, at the tail end of a reading in a Paris book shop, met Celine again. He confessed later that he wrote the book as a way to find her (of which I think the sweetest thing a guy is capable of doing to express his feeling). But things were different and complicated for them. The chemistry was still there. They talked and talked and found the soul-to-soul connection they once had (and never lost). Nevertheless, they lived their lives, made choices (Jesse is now married with one son, Celine has a boyfriend). This, arguably, was the most realistic, brutally honest ‘romance story’ ever written. Jesse was utterly clear in expressing his regret (of them not meeting sooner) he said:

Oh, God, why weren’t you there, in Vienna? I wish you would have been. Our lives might have been so much different.

Celine was much more realistic at first, referring them with their encounter in Vienna as

You know, maybe we’re – we’re only good at brief encounters, walking around in European cities in warm climate.

Memories are wonderful things, if you don’t have to deal with the past.

Is it true? Well we would find out towards the end that Celine actually wrote a song about Jesse. Gosh, could it be more romantic than that? He wrote her a book, she wrote a song! And before you realize it, the movie is over πŸ˜€ I told you that this is the most realistic love story ever written, so don’t expect them to end up together πŸ˜‰ I can never think of any better ending really. Think about it, Jesse loves his son, and divorce would end at least half of his time with him. What would you do if you are married with a child and you meet your biggest love in life again? Is it better to divorce and risk seeing your child only at weekends, but live together with your true love? As for Celine, will the memory of one love and ‘what if’ prevent her from fully letting go with someone else?

Afterall, we are all adults with certain roles and responsibilities the society demands from us. When we think about it, suddenly we realize it is not all about love. It is about life. Life’s hard. It’s supposed to be. If we didn’t suffer, we’d never learn anything. πŸ˜‰

Just to share the gem, I will leave you with the links where you can read all wonderful quotes from these movies. My favorite is:

I guess when you’re young, you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.

Here you are…

Before Sunrise

Before Sunset

Of course I strongly recommend you watch the movies first!

The Perfect Stranger

I was rummaging for some interesting books in TGA, Senayan City when I heard it.

“Indonesians read all the books. Wow… Look at that Les Miserables”

I turned around and smiled.

“Really…they translate all to Bahasa. Even Paulo Coelho’s. Tsk tsk tsk…”

“Well…yeah,” I nodded. “But I’m not sure if it’s better understood in Bahasa. You know what I mean? Sometimes the words just don’t translate and it gets redundant and funny.”

“Excuse me, are you Indonesian or…?”

“Yes, I am”

“Sorry, I thought you were not. Your English is very good. Are you..ehmm half-Chinese or?”

“I am of Chinese descent hahaha…”

“Ok, that makes sense. Because you look like one! I’m Chinese also but I’m from Philippines. My grandparents are from Taiwan. I speak little Chinese though. Well, they live in Taiwan.”

“Same here… I can’t speak Chinese. I understand the basic conversation but don’t expect me to reply back hehehe… I have a Chinese name, can you believe it? And I don’t speak the language.”

There it goes, my confession πŸ˜›

“Ahh..It’s okay. Of course it’s good if you can, but it is so overrated that just because of some genetic background you have to master the whole cultural thingy!”

Wow..I love this person. So damn sensible!

“So..tell me something. Do you Indonesian read Les Miserables? I read the English version and it was so difficult. I was like..whewww you have that in Bahasa!”

“I’ve never read it. But I watched the movie, Claire Danes playing the daughter? Very good. I guess the book must be good too, or even better.”

“I never watch the movie. I only read the book. It’s good but I had to work extra hard to understand it hehe… But I would recommend this one. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Very good. All his books are good and this one is a masterpiece.”

“Hmm…worth trying. Besides, it’s cheap!” πŸ˜›

I grab one copy.

“Are you into movies?”

“Yeah, you bet!”

“Gosh…me also! I just watched Bangkok Dangerous. It’s good. Well…the ending could have been better. But it’s okay. Not bad.”

“Nicholas Cage? Hmmm… gotta watch it!”

I totally love Nicholas Cage, even with his receding hair πŸ˜›

“Wow…we’ve got lots of things in common!”

“Haha…”

(I have no better response than a clumsy ha-ha)

“Hey do you want to grab something to eat? I’m meeting some friends at dinner time. So it’s about 3 freakin hours of waiting?”

“Actually I’m also waiting for some friends. Errrr…where are we going?”

I hesitate for a moment.

Is it safe to go with a stranger?Β  But we have lots of fun and perfect conversation to begin with.

“Okay, I pay for this book first.”

I’m trying to buy some time. Go…not go…go…not go…

(intro of Puddle of Mudd’s She Hates Me. My message alert)

“Fen psn dr dina 15 mnt

lg dia nyampe.km tlg

telp dia.pulsanya abis.”

Okay…it’s the message from God. Maybe it is not safe to go with a total stranger.

“Sorry…my friend is coming in any time soon.”

“Ah..okay..no problem. I’ll go to Plaza Senayan, they have Periplus there. Some place where I can actually read a book and understand! Hahaha… Can I get your number?”

We exchange numbers.

Smile.

Goodbye.

Nice to meet you.

(That was my story of meeting a perfect stranger. We shared a good laugh, common interest, smart conversation, and above all, a strange chemistry. I would love to end this story with some hopeful remarks from some cheesy romantic love songs (I’ve finally found someone or We could be in love, to name some πŸ˜› ). But I can’t. It’s not ‘him’. It’s ‘her’. Yep…my perfect stranger is a girl πŸ™‚

PS: Nice to meet you, Chona Young. Hope we can hang out when you’re in the neighborhood πŸ˜‰

Can you question life?

I got this interesting question in ‘Traveler’s Tale’ when one of the characters (Francis Lim) kept asking this question. Apparently the answer is ‘no’ πŸ™‚ Well you can, but life won’t reply :p

A little note about the book, I knew about it from Sylvia who insisted me on reading it. She even sent me SMS last week to my Thai AIS number just to say “you have to read it!.” Ok, point well-taken Cil! Hahaha…

Back to my question ‘Can you question life?’. I decided to ask a tarot reader instead. For 100,000 Rps you can get all the answers πŸ˜‰ A good bargain, eh? Hehe…

He was the same person who read me last year (the one I mentioned here). So far, some of his readings have been fulfilled. I don’t know if it’s because I -unknowingly- put my faith in his words OR he really could catch a glimpse of my future. Either way, I will focus on the fact that SOME of his prophecy are -so far- reliable.

ON CAREER

Last year, he said I would have a promising career providing I could learn to persevere and be patient. This year he reiterated his point. He also mentioned my charm in learning things by doing them. It was not to discourage my interest in furthering my education but he suggested me to ask myself why I really need a master degree.

Is it to upgrade your skills?

Or is it just for the pride of having it (a master degree)?

He followed by reading one of my characteristics (taking ‘pride’ so seriously). Well, I have to admit that he was right πŸ˜›

ON LOVE

1) Last year he said I would meet someone new this year. Hey, it’s already September! Where is this new guy???

2) Last week he said nothing about prospective love life in the near future. Instead, he told me to be realistic about my preference. Wait a minute! He missed this point. He thought that I preferred foreigners and put locals aside. It’s not true πŸ™‚ All my close friends know that I look for a Buddhist-Chinese descent-of Java guy (despite some cruel reactions from my friend ‘They don’t intersect!’). Hahahaha…

3) Last year he gave me a hint that I would get married at the age of 30.

4) Last wek he was being nice, 28 he said πŸ™‚ Good news, two years advance heh? :))

5) I asked him last year if I would marry to a rich man πŸ˜› He nodded (because I wouldn’t want marry someone unless he’s rich, he said). What kind of prophecy is it???? *head scratching*

There it goes. My love life on a platter πŸ˜‰

ON PERSONALITY

Diligent, smart, quick learner, selfish, stubborn, loves traveling, sociable yet prefers to be intimate with very few people only, temperamental (I have to disagree with the last part) πŸ˜›

There is one particular thing that I will use to test him. Let’s see what happen this month (or next month). I will tell you when I get the news πŸ˜‰