define kilig: Before Sunrise, Sunset, and Midnight

/ 04 May 2013 /
I was chatting with my lovely friend Joyce today, and as girlfriend chats usually go, we spent so much time discussing boys and relationships. Inevitably, we landed on the realm of kilig.

You may not encounter this term everyday (and maybe never in your entire life if you don’t speak Filipino), but kilig is one of the best, sweetest, most positive feelings that anyone on this earth can feel. Or maybe that’s just the closet romantic in me.

Let me try to define and illustrate it with the help of a notorious kilig-inducing weapon: romance flicks. But because I’m very cautious of anything saccharine, I’ll use the subtle kilig factor of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.

[Minor spoilers ahead!]

From Before Sunrise. "I like to feel his eyes on me when I look away."

There is no English term that fully encapsulates what kilig is. The closest is probably “butterflies in the stomach”, but even that just doesn’t cut it. Though it is a major component of it. It’s that fluttery, feel-good sensation you get when something ├╝ber-sweet happens.
From Before Sunrise. Who let the butterflies out?

It’s also that melty, woozy feeling that makes your knees go weak. Makes you light-headed, like when you’ve had a little too much wine. And in some cases, kilig makes you feel like you’re about to dissolve, faint, or puke. In a good way, of course.
From Before Sunset. Feel free to melt.

But kilig is more than just tummy-tickling and jelly knees. It’s also this perky feeling, an excitement for what’s going to happen next. You get all giddy and jumpy, like you’re on this caffeine-laced sugar rush (or sugary caffeine high, whichever you prefer).

Put all of these together, and you’ve got an irrational-yet-powerful feeling that makes even the most dignified of us act silly. Kinda like a bite-sized version of love, don’t you think?

Speaking of the L word, yes, I am officially in love with Linklater’s holy trinity of romantic films – and the third one isn’t even out yet! Consider this a high recommendation from someone who’s allergic to cheesy love stories.

Trust me, these aren’t your usual girl-meets-boy movies (at least the first two, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset). For one, from start to finish, they’re almost purely dialogue between the two main characters. But that’s largely why these films are quietly beautiful – the heavy dialogues aren’t boring at all; instead, they pull you in with subtle revelations and blazing insights. The settings, Vienna and Paris, are so pretty, and the main stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, have this almost-realistic chemistry (shiz, never in my life did I imagine I would one day write about onscreen chemistry).

And of course, the premise of a one-shot romance is just too irresistible.

Now, I’ve been hearing raves about Before Midnight (which is set in a yet-to-be-revealed Greek location) since it premiered at Sundance this year. I’m pretty sure this is going to be one hell of a kilig-fest again.

Okay, so now they’ll really need to make a fourth one, preferably in Amsterdam. I nominate a title: Before Munchies. :P


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