Sunday, November 03, 2013

Before Talking

Happy birthday to Trisa who I cannot call since the phone with her number in was killed by a washing machine some months ago.

I thought of Trisa a few days ago when, staying at my sister's apartment I watched Before Midnight with my sister and her boyfriend. Released this year, the film is the latest in a series of so far three Richard Linklater films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, a pair of lovers who we see mostly just talking in the three films.

I haven't seen the first one since Trisa showed it to me at least twelve or thirteen years ago and I haven't seen the second since I saw it in the theatre in 2004. I only very dimly remember the first two films but this may be appropriate since the the real time quality of the stories somewhat simulates actually encountering a couple of people. Though the dialogue is a bit more effortlessly thoughtful and philosophical than one tends to hear between even two exceptionally intelligent individuals.

Like the first two films, the dialogue is used as a particularly intimate form of exploring the value of love and relationships and their value with respect to the meaning of life. The questions involved take on a greater sense of urgency for the vulnerability of the characters for staking their hearts on instinctual combinations of spontaneity and consideration.

This new film sees the couple married with kids and vacationing in Greece. The performances between the two actors are just as strong. Delpy seems again always a couple steps ahead of Hawke who always seems like he's trying to find an alternate, optimistic solution to a cynical equation she's already solved and has predicted doom because of it. Which may somewhat describe heterosexual relationships in most films and television shows now, actually.

Some of their conflicts are disappointingly cliche, like when she tells him he doesn't appreciate how difficult the work is she does at home. More interesting was the tension throughout the film over whether Hawke was going to try talking Delpy into moving to the U.S. in order to be near the son from Hawke's first marriage, a possibility Delpy sees as certain death for their relationship.

It's nice seeing a modern movie with so much dialogue and long takes. The filmmakers transition between story points very naturally.


Last night I dreamt I was on a cold beach under a dark overcast sky. Waves came far up the shore and water was collecting between the rocks. I kept checking the little pools for sea life and at length saw some kind of white eel with a pair of white, lobster-like pinchers. It attacked the big red crab I forgot I was carrying and the two creatures each tore an arm from the other.

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