Monday, June 24, 2013
before and after
I enjoyed the original, Before Sunrise; I quite liked the follow up, Before Sunset. I have them on DVD, and now that a third movie has come along, Before Midnight, I decided to re-view them before catching the latest instalment at the cinema.
What beautiful films.
And - how amazing; the story of Celine and Jesse through the three films captures what happens when we age. We are who we always were, but with life added on. It's not just haircuts and lines on our faces, it's grit in our souls too.
Clare, the newsagent in Pontypridd, once asked me a question. A gaggle of arguing old biddies were leaving her shop, and as she stared after them, Clare turned to me and said, "Marcus, when I get old, will I be like that?"
I replied: "I think that when you are old, you are what you always were - but you forget to hide it. If you were always kind and generous, you will be that person in your old age, and it will be obvious to everyone. And if you were always a secretly cantankerous so-and-so - guess what!"
Clare looked at me and laughed. "Oh dear," she said, "I'm not sure if that's good news or not!"
These films follow through two people as they move from early twenties to early thirties to early forties. I hope this isn't the last in the series. They aren't perfectly profound, or absolutely applicable to every life situation - but they are wonderfully human and recognisable and rise to hope and fall to despair and leave questions open and give room for both dreams and failures. They are beautiful.
I sometimes find myself praying - Lord, help me be a good person today. I mean by that - help me love. I think it can feel fairly easy to love God; it feels less easy to 'love my neighbour', the people around me. I guess there's a temptation all of us face - and it's huge in all of these films - so to dwell on our side of the conversation of life that we forget someone else is speaking too, and that their words come from experience and understanding and a place of value. Love happens when, for a moment, we listen and hear something new. Something beyond us. Something wonderful.
Watching these films I see magical moments when two people just get that right, and tragic moments when they fail desperately.
I guess Celine & Jesse are just slightly younger than me. They could be people I've met. I feel like I know them; they speak like they know me.
What beautiful films.