Tuesday, October 29, 2013

'Before Midnight'

One is reminded, when one finds diamonds amid dross, why one fell in love with cinema in childhood.

Oh, you go through phases. Kids' stuff. Action. Adventure. Comedy. Drama. Sci-fi. So on.

Money is precious. I don't waste it on pedestrian pictures. Just can't go there anymore.

The Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy Before/Before/Before trilogy is treasured. My friend Bridget introduced me to the first two films a decade or so ago. They hold a special place in my consciousness, cradled in the compartment in which you keep memories, moments, magic.

They are stage plays in the best sense, the conversation natural, the pace perfect. It feels real and how wonderful is it that we've aged, too, with Jesse and Celine, two decades removed from that train trip to Vienna.

I approached "Before Midnight" with trepidation, similar to returning to Gus and Call in "Streets of Laredo" or to Thalia in "Texasville." Would I be disappointed, depressed, distraught?

No, a little, somewhat.

Jesse and Celine have matured in a decade. Who hasn't? If you are crowding 40 and are still the same as you were 10 years ago, perhaps you need to pause.

As with "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," I soon forgot I was seeing cinema. Instead, I felt like a fly on the wall, a voyeur in the best sense (if there is one), watching a real couple talk and walk together as summer sets in Greece.

Free of irritating explosions, silly special effects and crappy cliches, "Before Midnight" is refreshing, rejuvenating, real.

It reminds me that good cinema has survived a confederacy of clowns, that good stories are complicated and quiet, that good art is contemplative and complex.

"Before Midnight" is now available on DVD. It is rated R. 

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