Friday, October 12, 2012

Rooms on Film: Before Sunset

behind-the-scenes of before sunset
This is in celebration of the upcoming sequel, Before Midnight! All my feelings on the subject of a third chapter in the 'Ballad of Jesse & Celine' are spelled out in this post. Before Sunrise was all dialogue about who these people thought they were and what they thought life is about. Before Sunset was the same with the noted exception that it showed us not only a lovely European city, but also the intimate space of one of the lovers. 


Celine's bohemian Paris apartment/art studio is a fantasy realized. It's exactly the sort of place young artists have envisioned when they dream of the "big city" for centuries. (Are the garret rooms of the penniless writer and his bohemian theater friends any different in Moulin Rouge?) I fell in love with it instantly and tried to push my apartment in that direction (it was already heading there). Her home fits the story so well. 

the infamous nina simone impression
Jesse is conflicted about having settled down and started a family, losing his passion in the process; and along comes his old fling stirring up memories of breezy youth. It is the perfect place to test the spark of their old connection. As the film fades to black, you know - you know - that smouldering flirtation is gonna ignite into an all-consuming blaze. 

dreamy artist loft: kitchen, office, dining, bedroom, livingroom and paint studio. notice the far wooden floor is damaged and abruptly changes to rough ceramic tile
Entering Celine's loft is pretty exciting. This story has never even visited a hotel room before. All of the venues have been public spaces. The viewer sees the inside just before Jesse does. It is so worth the wait! Filled with art, ephemera, secondhand furniture... there is just so much to look at. (Someone said that about my place once.) Now we - and Jesse - know just how casual, artistic and interesting Celine is. She likes old things, color, light, travel, music, family, friends, language, and not much television.

color + texture + pattern for days: silk drapes, campaign chair, striped textiles, indian table, asian lanterns, oriental rugs...
Jesse's attempts to escape into Celine's world is turning out better and better. A man with children can't be living like this, can he? This pad is for the footloose and fancy free... for people with the freedom to focus on themselves, on sensuous living. Yeah, the seeking and indulging of beauty, pleasure and (hopefully) fulfillment.

not sure i could deal with such rough tiles, but otherwise they just add to the global flair of the space
is it bad to store cd's above a heater?
Celine's cluttered office is pretty amazing. It's both messy and tidy in an artistic way.This is exactly the sort of thing Sibella Court has gotten famous for. And she really lives like this! A wonderful portrait of the life of a curious intellectual artist.

crowded but clean kitchen

It's funny how her bed is in the middle of the room rather than over by the windows. I always say that in a studio apartment you need to embrace the bed rather than hide it behind more furniture. This is probably the darkest spot in the place and far enough from the windows for a modicum of privacy. 

love the bedding: the mix of earthtones and brights is perfect; the headboard is a simple shawl probably over plywood; that exact striped blanket was featured in domino mag a few years back in a plug for a brooklyn boutique. took all i had not to rush right over and buy one.
Despite all of Celine's reminders that he has a plane to catch, Jesse is determined to slip into her idyllic world - and wallow in that old feeling - completely charmed by her rabble and tea and singing and Nina Simone anecdote/impression. He's not going anywhere...


Burn baby, burn. 

4 comments:

Peggy said...

One of my favorite films! Julie Delpy is too fab.

Anonymous said...

I love Celine's apartment and enjoyed reading your words. There is one thing, though that always bugged me: what are those things behind Celine on the floor in the last but one photo...? :)
Vera

belledame said...

hi vera, they look like cans of paint on top of sheets to protect the floor. looks like she paints in that corner.

Megashare9 Movies said...

movies365 - Nine years on Celine and Jessie meet in Paris not entirely by destiny or sheer force of circumstance... Nine years ago I loved Before Sunrise so much! And identified with it even though I was far from home not out of choice - and a war of the kind that bothered Celine in Bosnia was going on in my own country... But I was young. I was 24, actually, very romantic and innocent. Now I Know how things work a little better. The world, relationships. But I'm still plunging into causes for their own sake. And I'm still a reasonably normal person. Just like the characters in this film. Paris has never looked simpler in its casual elegance. Dialogue has never seemed more natural. A script never touched real life like this one so effortlessly. I'm in love with these characters - and with the ending... This is how European Cinema used to be - and Hollywood, too for that matter. Naturally real and magical in the details.
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