Culture & Travel

7 February 2023

“isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?” – Before Sunrise

It can be risky to pick a romantic film. The clichés that have been used hundreds of times in the same themes are archived in this category of movies. The Before series, which started with Before Sunrise and is now in its 28th year, is a heartwarming series that, without resorting to clichés, reintroduces us to the timid, fragile, yet brave and dashing feeling of love that we all experience.

In the film, the romance between two characters is depicted as a process, and we participate in their journey as they get to know one another. On a train in Europe, American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Céline (Julie Delpy) meet. They develop a close bond, and because of how quickly it happened, they decide to get off the train in Vienna. Here, they put all their attention into spending time getting to know one another.

They reunite in Paris after a lengthy separation of nine years in the sequel to the first movie, Before Sunset, where they rediscover their feelings for one another. In the third movie, Before Midnight, the plot develops as they take their twin daughters on vacation to Greece and rediscover their love. This trilogy expertly depicts the various phases of a relationship through engrossing discussions on love and life.

In fact, as the two lovers get to know one another, the trilogy takes us on a cultural tour of three beautiful European cities over the course of three movies. Let’s discover these three cities together.

Before Sunrise (1995) Vienna

Zollamtssteg Bridge

The Zollamtssteg Bridge over the Vienna River is the first location we see in the film. This scene, which makes us want to visit the Danube waters, which come to life with graffiti on crumbling walls, flea markets in summer, sun loungers thrown on the beach, and lively entertainment venues, also makes the MS Johann Strauss ship quite appealing, on which Jesse and Céline promise to spend only one night together.

Before-1

Cemetery Of the Nameless (The Friedhof Der Namenlosen)

The cemetery, which Céline visited when she was a young woman and was deeply moved by, is a small cemetery where bodies, frequently unidentified, were buried after being pulled from the Danube between 1900 and 1935. It's a sad, desolate, and small place.

Café Sperl

Arguably the best scene in Before Sunrise is the one in Vienna's Café Sperl, where they pretend to talk on the phone to get to know each other's inner world. This charming restaurant with its Jugendstil style, cozy booths and nostalgic atmosphere is the perfect stop to experience the famous Viennese cuisine and strudel with tea.

The cozy Viennese ambience and unforgettable experiences play a big role in the two characters falling in love. The movie ends with both promising to meet at the train station in the same place in six months.

Before-2

Before Sunset (2004) Paris

Shakespeare&Company Bookstore

Unable to meet at the agreed place, Jesse writes a novel called 'This Time' inspired by their meeting in Vienna in the hope of meeting Céline once again, and the book becomes a bestseller. Jesse achieved his goal when he saw Céline at 'Shakespeare and Company' while on a book tour in Paris. If you're ever in Paris, don't forget to stop by this cozy bookstore where the muses roam.

Before-3

Rue Des Jardins St Paul – Charlemagne – Eginhard

Like the previous film in the series, Before Sunset presents Céline and Jesse's relationship as naturally as possible, in a documentary style, but this time the filming is slightly different. They walk along the riverside, through the studenty north of the Sorbonne, along the rue Saint Julien le Pauvre and turn left towards Galande, past the Studio Galande cinema. So far, everything is normal. But after a single section, they suddenly start walking in the opposite direction, crossing the Seine and the Île St. Louis and jumping from rue Des Jardins St-Paul to rue de l'Ave Maria, in the Marais neighborhood of the 4th arrondissement. Heading towards the back of Église-St-Paul-St-Louis, the couple turns right onto rue Charlemagne, where Céline is describing his environmental work, and then crosses the small passage of rue Eginhard to reach rue Saint-Paul. In this way, we witness the authentic, alluring streets and elegant shops of Paris

Seine River

This time, the couple makes their way to Quai de la Tournelle, which is close to Notre Dame. There, they board a bateau mouche and continue talking while taking in the scenery. A striking sunset scene that is depicted on the movie poster concludes their journey along the Seine River.

Before-4

Before Midnight (2013) Peloponnese

House of Leigh Fermor

In the third film, Jesse and Céline, a married couple, are pictured vacationing on the Greek island of Peloponnese with their twin children. The couple's first stop is Patrick's house, which he uses as a writer's mansion thanks to their friend Patrick. The travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor once actually resided in this house. The Benaki museum now owns the home.

Kardamyli

When Jesse and Céline have dinner by the sea by themselves without their kids during a romantic sunset, it is one of the most touching scenes in the film. As they watch the sun set, the couple takes in the scenery. Even though this restaurant doesn't exist, the location where the movie was filmed does. When visiting Kardamyli, you must go to the beach for its calm waters and angular peaks that will undoubtedly delight your eyes.

Before-5

Platsa

The couple comes across a small Byzantine chapel that Jesse has been to before and wants to show Céline as they stroll through the streets of Platsa while chatting as usual about relationships, life, and death. The chapel was constructed in St. Odile's honor and is conveniently located near Platsa Square. Despite being small, it is worth exploring.

It is impossible to see the routes that broaden our cultural and geographical horizons and not feel the desire to wander these streets with a lover with whom we can share our feelings and jokes after watching this series of films that give new life to our perspective on relationships, romance, and life. To see the additional points that cannot be covered in a single article, make sure to watch the series!

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