WATCH: Binondo Is Vienna in This Before Sunrise-Inspired Postnup Shoot
When newlyweds Judy and Rebin Villanera wanted to do a photo shoot to commemorate their marriage, they turned to digital photographer Dian Relucano and analog photographer Film8. The couple wanted a simple theme for the shoot, and Relucano came up with the idea: something inspired by the film Before Sunrise.
In the film directed by Richard Linklater and released in 1995, twentysomething strangers Jesse and Celine (played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) meet on a train and decide to spend the day together in Vienna, Austria. The city serves as a backdrop as the two get to know each other and form a deep emotional and physical connection.
The concept was a last-minute change to Relucano’s original plan.
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“We were supposed to do a PNR train shoot,” the photographer and videographer tells Esquire Philippines. “However, during that time, we were also hyped at the movie after a friend recommended Before Sunrise to us. We watched the trilogy multiple times.”
“We got excited as we would like to keep (the shoot) simple and this film was a perfect inspiration,” Judy Villanera adds.
After Relucano got the couple onboard with the concept, and his team did some research to try and recreate elements from the film on their own shoot. They got pieces from ukay-ukay shops to try and match Jesse and Celine’s wardrobe in the movie as closely as possible.
They also decided to do the shoot in Binondo to try and capture the beauty of Old Manila.
“On the actual shoot, we spontaneously scouted the location for European-like architecture,” Film8 says.
The team tried as much as possible to capture the casual and laidback atmosphere in the movie: it was about two strangers walking around and slowly developing a bond through engaging and meaningful conversation. Judy and Rebin channeled their inner Celine and Jesse as they posed in places like the Jones Bridge across the Pasig River, the Carriedo Fountain, and along the train platform in Tutuban station and inside an actual PNR train.
The team also faced several challenges during the shoot. “First, the timing and duration of the shoot. We had to shoot as many pictures as we could before the sun went down,” Film8 says.
The team also parked their vehicles at the Escolta building, which apparently closes at 6 p.m. They started the shoot around 1 p.m. and finished around 9 p.m.
“We had to wait before sunrise, literally, to get the car,” Relucano says. “It was one of the most epic shoots we had.”
Despite the tiny setback, Villanera says they had a great experience overall.
“We were surprised and grateful that Dian created a video as we were only expecting photos,” she says. “We received positive comments from our friends and family. Some have been tagging us and sharing to their friends that their favorite movie has inspired this shoot.”
In the video, Relucano used the song “Come Here” by Kath Bloom, which is featured in one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.
Watch the video here: