Scene 16

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Before Sunrise”. It’s fitting, albeit not really as good, sequel “Before Sunset” came out last year. Maybe you saw it or heard of it.

It’s worth noting the story is not really this movie’s strength – it’s the dialouge. And some of the lines are just beautiful and poignant. Scene 16 happens to be one of the best.

I am not sure what exatly made me think of this today and then proceed to want to post it here. Chalk it up to my easily-distracted brain, I guess. Enjoy.

The scene:

[Still in club. Playing pinball. Selene is playing, and she loses her ball. Both are drinking beer.]

Selene: [hitting the machine] Merde!

Jesse: [taking over, and starting playing] Well, um, we haven’t talked about this yet, but, are you dating anyone? You got a boyfriend waiting on you back in Paris, or anything like that?

Selene: No, not right now.

Jesse: not right — but you did! [he loses ball, she takes over]

Selene: We broke up about six months ago.

Jesse: Six months ago.

Selene: Yeah.

Jesse: I’m sorry. I mean, I’m not that sorry. But, uh, tell me about it.

Selene: Ah, no. No, no way, I can’t. Its really, really boring.

Jesse: C’mon, tell me about it.

Selene: Okay. I was really disappointed. I thought this one would last for a while. I mean he was very stupid, ugly, bad in bed, alcoholic, y’know

Jesse: Real prize-winner.

Selene: Yeah. [laughs] I was kind of giving him a favour, but he left me, saying I loved him too much, and, y’know, I was blocking his artistic expression, or some shit like that, y’know. But anyway, I was traumatized, and became [she loses ball. She shrugs, they switch] and became totally obsessed with him. And so I went to see this shrink, y’know, and it came out that I had written this little stupid story about this woman, trying to kill her boyfriend, and how she was gonna do it, y’know, with all the intricate details, of, y’know, how to do it, and not get caught, and

Jesse: She was gonna kill her boyfriend? [loses ball. Switch]

Selene: Yeah. Yeah, she was. I mean, its nothing I would do, but it was just some writing, y’know.

Jesse: Alright, no, no, I understand.

Selene: But anyway, this stupid shrink believed everything I was telling her, and it was my first time seeing her. She said she had to call the police.

Jesse: She had to call the police?

Selene: [loses ball. Switch] Yeah. She was, merde! she was totally convinced I was really gonna do it. y’know, even though I’d explained to her it was just some writing, y’know. She said, looking deep into my eyes, “The way you said it, I know you are going to do it, the way you said it.” She was totally out of her mind. It was my first and last session.

Jesse: Yeah, so what happened then?

Selene: I totally got over him, you know. But now I’m obsessed that he’s gonna die from an accident, or, you know, 1000 kms away, I’m gonna be the one accused. Why do you become obsessed with people you don’t really like that much, you know, I mean.

Jesse: I don’t know.

Selene: So, how about you?

Jesse: What?

Selene: Are you with anyone?

Jesse: Umm, its funny how we managed to avoid this subject for so long, isn’t it?

Selene: Yeah, but now you have to tell me.

Jesse: Well, I kind of see this all (****) as this, uh, escape for two people who don’t know how to be alone, y’know, or, uh. I mean, y’know its funny. People always talk about how love is this totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, y’know, there’s nothing more selfish.

Selene: Yeah, I know. So, she just broke up with you?

Jesse: What? [loses ball, switch]

Selene: You sound like you’ve just been hurt, or something.

Jesse: No…. do I?

Selene: Yeah.

Jesse: Alright. Um, Big confession, y’know. I should have told you the earlier, or something, but, y’know… I didn’t just come to Europe just to hang out, and read Hemingway in Paris, and shit like that, y’know. I saved up my money all spring to, uh, fly to Madrid, and spend the summer with my girlfriend, who has been on this —

Selene: Your girlfriend? [she loses ball. They switch]

Jesse: My EX-girlfriend, who has been on this asinine art history program for the last year. Anyway, I got here, right, and now we’re re-united, at long last, and we went out to dinner, our first night, ah, with six of her friends. Pedro, Antonio, Gonzalo, Maria, Suzie, from home, y’know. She pretty much managed to avoid being alone with me for the first couple of days we were there, and I stuck around for a while, just to kind of let it really sink in that she wished I hadn’t come. So I bought the cheapest flight out of Europe, this one leaving out of Vienna tomorrow, but it didn’t leave for a couple of weeks. So, I bought this Eurail pass, y’know. Y’know–y’know what’s the worst thing about somebody breaking up with you? Its when you remember how little you thought about the people you broke up with, and you realize that that is how little they’re thinking about you, y’know. [loses ball]. Y’know, you’d like to think that you’re both in all this pain, but really, they’re just, Hey, I’m glad you’re gone. [They switch]

Selene: I know. You should look at bright colours.

Jesse: What?

Selene: That’s what the shrink told me, y’know. I was paying her 900 francs an hour, to hear that I was a homicidal maniac, and that I could eliminate (****) my obsession if I would concentrate on bright colours.

Jesse: Yeah, well did it work?

Selene: Well, [loses ball, switch]

Jesse: Didn’t help your pinball, did it?

Selene: No. Yeah, well, you know. I haven’t… I haven’t killed anyone lately.

Jesse: Not lately? Well, that’s good, you’re cured, then.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

5 thoughts on “Scene 16”

  1. Your comments are ambiguous and troublesome. They seem to come from a place that has not seen “Before Sunrise,” dammit!

  2. MY comments are ambiguous?

    You have yet to give me one good reason why Sunrise is better than Sunset.

    Because it’s not, that’s why.

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