Friday, June 7, 2013

Before Sunrise (1995) / Before Sunset (2004)

Due to popular demand (actually, only two people requested), I'm re-posting the reviews I wrote in December 2004 on my old blog (where I didn't confine myself to a 100-word limit), on the two lovely movies, Before Sunset and Before Sunrise. Check below: It's ironic how I ended the review of the second movie years ago, and how I ended the review of Before Midnight last week.

Thanks again to Maryam for retrieving these from the darker corners of the internet.

Before Sunrise (1995)

Director: Richard Linklater. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy. 105 min. Drama.

These characters are so real! Think about the setting: One day, you run into a total stranger somewhere, knowing that you'll be seeing him/her for just a few hours and never again afterwards, and talk to him/her with complete honesty about anything that comes up during those few hours, assured that there will be no aftermaths, and none of what you are saying will ever come back to haunt you, because you'll never be seeing that person again. Take this into mind, as opposed to seeing a psychiatrist, since the other person is also chiming in some input about what he/she feels about what you think. Then listen to yourself, or in this case, watch these two people, talk. You'll understand why "Before Sunrise" is so acceptable and enjoying.

It's hard to believe how we go to the movies to watch something out of this world, but then every once in a while we run into a film which is merely a camera stuck in front of two people just talking about everyday life events happening around them. Suddenly we notice: Wow, these conversations are so interesting! The reason is, they are interpreting events EXACTLY the way we interpret them, and we can so strongly sympathize with them, because they are as regular as we are. They're not Hollywood actors anymore; they're just everyday "normal" people. Very much along the lines of Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" or P.T. Anderson's "Magnolia", but "Before Sunrise" is much more true to form. 

Before Sunset (2004)

Director: Richard Linklater. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy. 80 min. Drama.

Fortunately, I rented “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” at the same time, and when the first movie ended, I had no choice but to pop in the sequel and go on. Although “Before Sunset” is both made and the story happens 9 years after the first movie, I again found myself drowning in these two characters’ conversations. And how much more real can a Hollywood movie with Hollywood actors get? This time the story happens in real time, and reaches the “hyper-reality” Linklater is trying to achieve, more than ever. Would it be exaggerating to call the movie a documentary? The sequel answers the burning question left hanging at the end of the original movie: Did Jesse and Celine ever meet again 6 months after the first movie, as they had promised to each other?

The point I couldn’t understand was that the director has excellent opportunities for up to 20 minute long shots (a dream for the famous Hitchcock-lover, Brian DePalma), but cuts them into at most 10 minute shots, which is still an accomplishment in itself. Maybe the reason is the actors were so enjoyably improvising some of the dialogues on the first take that when the take was somehow interrupted, he didn’t want to repeat it, knowing he wouldn’t get the same effect. It's interesting to see how over the years a major portion of these two characters' innocence had turned to cynicism. I still could have easily watched them talk for hours without getting bored. Hope there is a third film in progress to complete a trilogy, and I would prefer it to be sooner than another 9 years.

Mo says:


  1. Very interesting !How you could predict that it might be trilogy? It never came to my mind when I finished the sequel.I noticed your guess about upcoming sequel for movies is almost come true. What about Star wars ? Did you have any fantasy about star wars after episode 3? the story might continue?
    * you're very welcomed. I think it was most useful thing that I did in the Internet so far!

    1. My guess about another film to make a trilogy was just "wishful thinking" - a wish that came true!

      And about Star Wars, I'm always dreaming about that ...