By now you may know that this is about two people falling in love around Vienna and otherwise cinematically plain. Beautiful young faces, beautiful old Europe, in principle very much a European film such as Woody Allen has fantasized about it, if not in actual spirit. He is cynical and boyish, she is a dreamer, excited, open to the flows of life. They listen to music, talk, walk, have their palms read, a really dreamy summer night of sharing and intimacy.
We stick it out because at dawn it expires, and the lives of mundane responsibilities are resumed. It is a parting like death of sorts, like someone is going out of life. How will they handle it? Will they fiercely cling at what they shared? Will they accept the memory of it?
There is however a second movie that came out 10 years later, where we get to find out whatever happened between these two, or didn’t. So for all intents and purposes, whether originally designed so or merely improvised along the way, this is only one half of a full movie - very much like Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. The resolution is predictable, the heartbreak postponed for another sunrise. Oh, we get to know these two really well, whether we like it or not. They are full of opinions, dreams, rebellions, a lot of empty spiritedness like is common in youth discovering a larger world. We get to know them well enough to imagine some pain ahead of them, the bill for the good times enjoyed here.
But unlike In the Mood for Love, this has none - perhaps one, the big ferris wheel at sunset - of the melancholy moods to wrap around us, that will allow us to permeate the silence behind words where love runs deeper, richer. It is not cinematically succulent in any ways that I am seeking out.
Being from that slacker generation that gave us Tarantino and Kevin Smith, it’s a film illustrating a screenplay. The effort is for quirky emotion and smartness. A romance and connection from words, instead of romance from the profoundness of rhythms and gestures.