“Oh, let not time deceive you, you can not conquer time.” – On the Before trilogy

According to my Letterboxd, it’s closing in on a year since I’ve last watched Sunrise and Sunset in full. And after last year, where these films were definitely something that got me through it all and will be one of the strongest memories of my senior year in years to come, where Jesse and Celine became like old friends, that’s pretty surprising for me. I’m surprised that I was able to stay away for this long. The connection hasn’t weakened with any viewing or short reminder through watching clips, but to be honest, why I did it was because I was terrified that the perfection, my love for these films, was too strong and perfect to be true, and that if it suddenly changed would be heartbreaking. There was no way films could be this perfect, this moving, this personal to me. So I forced myself to branch out and not watch them, to let Jesse and Celine go live their lives for a bit without me dropping in. But lately, I’ve been feeling like a catch up. Whether it’s things going on in my life and how I’ve been generally feeling lately, I don’t know. But I was sure of one thing – my desire to rewatch the films had become so frequent and strong, it’s something I was no longer able to ignore. I had to pop in the DVDs and revel in the simultaneous familiarity but the ever-present spontaneous feeling that has never left. I always feel like I’m watching them for the first time, watching evenings and afternoons unfold before my eyes. A relationship formed, rediscovered and explored.

But oh my, I’d be lying if I said it’s gotten easier to write about these films, my favourite films. Because when I talk about Before Sunrise, or any of the 5 or so hours we’ve been given with Jesse and Celine, I am rendered speechless. It’s why I’ve never been able to write a review of Sunrise and Sunset, even though they’ve made such an impact on my life. From the moment I first saw them, I was gone. There was life before and life after. There was no way I could ever say in coherent sentences why I loved it so, no way I could ever delve into the deep, instant love I hold for this trilogy that has basically taken over my life and the strong connections and memories it immediately forged. It’s something that I can’t describe, and I don’t think I will ever be able to. But I do know something – thank you, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke. For making these films, for bringing something so magical, so moving, so memorable, so…almost otherworldly, into my life, and changing it forever.

-Ella

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