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HUMAN INTERACTION: “Only if you find peace within yourself will you find true connection with others.”

Movie quote from: Before Sunrise (1995) - Palm Reader (Erni Mangold)

before sunriseBefore Sunrise is one of my favorite human interaction stories.  Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is an American traveler on his way to Vienna to catch a flight back home.  Celine (Julie Delpy) is a French student on a journey to Paris to attend classes at the Sorbonne.  They meet on the train and are attracted to the uniqueness of each other's character.  They decide to spend a night together, exploring Vienna and their own souls.  What transpires is a great study of how truly good a relationship can be for two dynamic people.

Jesse and Celine decide early in their conversation that they are not going to make hollow promises to see each other beyond this day.  They recognize that he lives in the U.S. and she lives in France and they likely have no future together.  This one night in Vienna is all they will ever have together.  Rather than diminishing the quality of their shared time, the acknowledged finiteness of their relationship brings added color, honesty, and intensity to each moment.

Their conversations are so intimate and honest, I found myself feeling a little guilty that I was hearing what they said.  They share wise thoughts about a diversity of topics usually reserved for your closest friends, including failed relationships, gender differences, parental influence on our lives, religion, self doubts, sexuality, and the essencial aspects of love.  Vienna is an afterthought in this film.  The "space in between" these two characters was far more interesting than anything any city could have to offer.

My favorite part of the film is when Celine asks Jesse to answer an imaginary phone.  She has him play the role of her best friend, and she engages in a conversation with her friend about the interesting night she just spent with a fellow she met on the train.  Jesse returns the favor, calling his buddy to tell of his great last day in Europe.  This is an activity we can all engage in with our significant others, providing gratifying commentary on the value of the relationship we are living.

Long-term relationships lack the inevitable intensity found in a one-day romance.  However, people in long-term relationships must fight the tendency to take each other for granted.  Jesse and Celine had a lot to say to each other because they knew it would all end before sunrise.  Long-term relationships can end just as quickly.  Make time to share real thoughts and feelings with your family and friends.  It will make your own journey through life so much more meaningful.