Through the words, into the heart

A list of films that remind us the beauty of conversations in an era where words are being replaced by emoji.

by Aisiri Amin

conversation INKLINE
No distractions, just enjoying each other’s company. © Alex Holyoake at Flickr

In this age of smartphones with billion apps to help connect us with whoever we want, whenever we want, soul-stirring conversations seems to be a thing of beauty kept in a museum of forgotten art, something to be admired from far. Before technology  made the world small, for the good or the bad remains an endless debate, having a conversation was the only possible way to get to know someone, to know their deep-rooted fears, the chaos in their hearts, the fire in their souls and what made their eyes twinkle.

In the world of cinema, there have been few gems that explore such exchanges of words in the most beautiful way possible. Here is a list of movies for those who crave for a good conversation.

1. Before Series

If you are a lover of words and good cinema, this has to be at the top of your list. Richard Linklater’s three-part romance traces Celine and Jesse’s story over the period of about three decades, in real time. Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, all were released with nine years of gap in between. The series is Linklater’s lifelong exploration of love through everyday conversation between the lead characters.

Before Sunset (2004) usa
The series is Linklater’s lifelong exploration of love through everyday conversation between the lead characters. ©Before Sunset

From a mere crush to meeting a long lost love to exploring what happens beyond the happily ever after, the Before series is a gem that achieves what most love stories can’t: blurs the line between reality and fiction in the most surreal and plausible way.

It’s in those conversations that turn days into nights and moments into eras that we find someone worth holding onto. Let Jesse and Celine reaffirm your faith in old school love built on words, ideas and uninhibited emotions.

2. Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

The story is about a night when the worlds of two young expats collide. Chinese American girl meets Jewish American guy who has lived in Hong Kong for a decade. Both seem to be conflicted souls looking for something that isn’t in their immediate reach. As the night goes on, they seem to form a strange connection between familiar words and inexplicable feelings.

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As the night goes on, they seem to form a strange connection between familiar words and inexplicable feelings. ©Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

The film definitely seems weak in comparison to the Before series but there are moments that gives us the glimpse of the struggles of ordinary life in the city, the forgotten sense of attachments and the need for  a pause as we bustle through life which makes the film worth watching.

3. Before We Go

Chris Evans’ directorial debut is about what unfolds when two strangers meet at the Grand Central Terminal in New York as the night wraps around the silence of dreams. Brooke loses her purse and misses the last train home when Nick self-declares himself wanting to be the hero and offers his help.

before we go
There is conflict, there is a sense of loss and a state of confusion that binds these two strangers together. ©Before We Go

A hesitant Brooke lets her guard down as the night progresses and they talk love, life, fate and everything in between. Nick is avoiding the reception of his ex-girlfriends for whom he still has feelings for while Brooke seems to be struggling with her relationship with her husband.

There is conflict, there is a sense of loss and a state of confusion that binds these two strangers together. As they walk through the streets of Manhattan, they learn to voice the feelings that they have suppressed for long, and they begin to heal, together.

4. In The Mood For Love

The story takes us to Hong Kong in 1960s where how Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen move into neighbouring apartments on the same day. They have polite conversations whenever they meet which is usually kept to as minimal as possible until they get to know that their spouses are seeing each other.

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It is one of those films where silence as important as words, if not more. © In The Mood For Love

Betrayal, broken trust and hurt forms a bond between the two. Ironically, while struggling to deal with the affair between their spouses, they are drawn towards each other. Brilliant cinematography, visually enriching and beautiful soundtrack take you into the film to feel the emotions, to feel the warmth between the two and to feel trapped in the clichéd conflict between heart and mind.

As their souls dance in the shadow of overpowering attraction, there is an unbearable intensity between the two that grips you. It is one of those films where silence as important as words, if not more.

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