Before Sunrise (1995)

Film, Thoughts

I re-watched what I might venture to name my favourite movie last night. Before Sunrise follows the meeting of two young strangers on a train. They spend a night walking and talking through Vienna. Their conversations are honest and equally hopeful and skeptical. They ask the questions we have all felt inside, but perhaps not voiced. It’s a philosophical look at life and love through the eyes of two young adults who make a chance connection. 


Here are some of my favourite quotes from the movie: 

On parental influences…

“I could never get very excited about other people’s ambitions for my life.” -Jesse 

On the death of the young…

“Now I’m ten years older, and she’s still 13, I guess.”-Celine

On the magic inside of us… 

“Everything we know is stardust. So don’t forget, you are stardust!” -Palm Reader

On God…

“If there was any kind of God, he wouldn’t be in anyone. Not in you, or me… but just in the little space in between.” -Celine

On dancing… 

“I like the idea of dancing being a common function in life: something everyone participates in.” -Celine

On life as a process and journey… 

“It’s nearly impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.” -Celine

On time… 

“Everything is so finite. That’s what makes our time and specific moments so important.” -Jesse 

Apart from the piercing conversation, I love the simple cinematography. It in no way detracts from the dialogue (which is what I believe to be the best part of this film, without question). Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy take this beautiful screenplay and really own it. I could watch it over and over again. 

This movie was followed up with two sequels, Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2012), (using Hawke and Delpy again) both equally as open about the real issues that come up when you’ve chosen someone to love. 

If you decide to watch this movie, go into it with an open mind, a notebook and a quiet environment. Every time I watch it, I find myself with more thoughts and questions. I find more quotes that penetrate my heart and cause me to examine the way I view the world. 



“Au Revoir.”





Pardon me while I scream into a pillow.

One of my favourite directors, Richard Linklater, premiered a film 12 years in the making this January and I just found out about it. Titled, “Boyhood” it tells the story of a boy growing up, and as it was shot over this period of time, they use the same actor. Ellar Coltrane plays the boy and Ethan Hawke (another favourite from the Before Sunrise set of films also directed by Linklater) plays his father. Linklater also directed School of Rock with Jack Black and Fast Food Nation.

So excited to see this movie! And inspired to think of the ground-breaking projects (such as this 12 year feat) that I could have in my film future.




People Speaking Up


Dear People With Voices, 

We all have something to say. 

A back story unknown to those we have just met, unknown to the world at large. 

We all have words that are sitting in our throats. 

Words stirring in our bellies, ideas burning in our hearts. 

I’ve been particularly inspired by YouTubers lately who use their voice to inspire others. 

This is what I aspire to be one day. A voice of assurance, inspiration, motivation. 

Here are a few videos you should check out. Two are by Youtubers. One is on positivity, one is about beating procrastination and one is a TED Talks about how body language can change your life. All really inspiring, and by 3 very different people. 


There’s a Happy Ending


Dear Big Screen Starers, 

I stumbled upon Spike Lee’s list of must-see movies. Spike Lee is an actor, director, producer and screenwriter from New York. He has been a professor at NYU Film School for 15 years. To be honest, I haven’t seen anything that he has produced, but this list he’s come up with looks really good. This is the list of what he considers to be the best movies of all time that he hands out to his students at the beginning of the year. I’ve watched two of them so far. Apocalypto and City of God. 

This post is just a quick look at what I’ve watched in the past few days.

Apocalypto (2006)


Mel Gibson starts this film with a hunt in the jungle and a humorous exchange between brothers. Things soon escalate however when their village is ravaged by Mayans and men are led away to an unknown fate. I don’t want to give anything away because this is really a barebones, in your face movie. I didn’t watch the trailer or read anything about it before hand, so I didn’t have any expectations or predictions. 

The screen shot above is not even one of the bloodiest or saddest scenes, but one of the grimmest in any case. 

There was controversy surrounding the portrayal of the indigenous cultures in this film, but I think Mel Gibson and his partner for the project Farhad Safinia accomplished their goal magnificently: 

“We wanted to update the chase genre by, in fact, not updating it with technology or machinery but stripping it down to its most intense form, which is a man running for his life, and at the same time getting back to something that matters to him.” -Farhad Safinia 

City of God (2002)

I watched The Bang Bang Club sometime last year, and found it fascinating. It dealt more with historical event (Apartheid in South Africa) and the controversy surrounding photographing people in need instead of helping them. There is a chilling scene where the main character takes a photograph of a child on the ground with a vulture stalking behind. This photograph, modelled after a picture taken in real life ends up being the big break for the photographer. Another blogger reviewed the movie here, and shows the real life photo side by side with the one from the movie. 

Pictures in National Geographic and the like have always interested me. Pictures of places and people so far removed from the peaceful West. Their untold stories captured in some way through a snapshot. 


City of God was directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund. It tells the story of a drug war in 1960’s Brazil through the eyes of Rocket, an aspiring photographer whose brother was killed for his involvement with drugs. It is entirely in Portuguese, I watched it with English subtitles. 

The most disturbing thing about this movie I think is the involvement of children. In our Western culture, we are all about censorship and protecting the young. In this movie, it is the young who learn to kill, make their own way through theft and murder. Perhaps that is what made the movie so powerfully tragic. I think about the children in my life– my heart skips when they trip and skin their knee. The children in this film have guns and smoke joints and are plotting how to move up the ladder of power from the age of 6. 

I really enjoyed this movie, I felt it was filmed in a very genuine way. It definitely stirred up things in me. I think for a movie to be good, it has to make you feel something, it has to make you ask questions. This film did both for me. 


Dumb & Dumber (1994)



I’m assuming most people have seen this movie, so I’m not gonna talk about it much. I watched it for the first time a couple days ago, when I really needed the laugh. It did the trick.

I’d like to see more reenactments by Jennifer Lawrence. She claims to know every word of this movie. Watch here.

I also seriously want to use this line if I ever get the opportunity:

Cop: “Pull over!” // Harry: “No, it’s a cardigan, but thanks for noticing!”

Coming Attractions


Dear Neglected [but probably didn’t notice I left] Readers,

I have news.

I have contracted an infection. 

It occupies a lot of my time, it’s on my mind while I’m at work, and when I am going about my day.

Now, in light of Withdrawal, you might be thinking this bug I speak of, is the grammer bug….[begin rabbit trail] By the way, I have my phone back again. Somehow over a month after having lost it, a fellow student at my school tracked me down on Facebook and I was able to get my phone back and not have to replace it! I have been Instagramming to no end (delicious foods, pretty flowers and selfies of course), though that is not the point of this post, and this is not the thing which infects me. [end rabbit trail]


My impulse to create, my urge to bring newness into existence, to build upon what exists and to ask questions about what’s around me that no one else is asking. My desire to form and fabricate a life of beauty and meaning, to appreciate the aesthetic of simple things, to celebrate performing arts, to find new ways to love.

It has been overwhelming. It is like an infection, which itches, burns, screams for attention. It does not settle until it gets this attention.

So what to do? In reading a post on Gala Darling’s blog titled “Blog On, Babe: Get Organised!” I knew what I had to do. All the disorder of my mind had to be shaped into a plan. All the ideas had to be compiled and ordered, given a number in the line of the endless projects I wish to accomplish.

She suggested making a calendar out of a large post-it and writing down what day you will do what. It just so happens I have giant post-its, so this morning I let go of all excuses and sat down and made this 7 week calendar of blog posts and YouTube videos I will be making.

Also, in a book I am reading by Michelle Goodman, The Anti 9-5 Guide, she suggests carving out time several times a week to commit to your pet project on the side. Time to do the creative things you wish you were doing while you are sitting in your cube(or other less than thrilling day job location).


Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 1.11.24 PMThis took a good couple hours to make, what with the additional research and detail hunting. But it was worth every minute. I am so excited to follow this plan and be more consistent on my blog here(3-4 posts a week coming up!), and also finally start my YouTube channel.

So what’s coming up?

FILM: Reviews, actor and director features, my YouTube channel
ART: Artist features, gallery visits, my drawings, crafting
MUSIC: Favourite bands, artists, songs, covers on my YouTube channel
STYLE: Outfit of the day(OOTD), decor, DIY
LOVE: What I’ve learned about loving myself, things I love(& you should too), relationship talk

First up is a music post, and that’ll be coming up on my birthday! Check back this Saturday, June 8th! 

Peace & love kids,

-jessi hannah jay. 

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @jessihannahjay