Autumn 2004 Main series
Sunday, November 21, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 21, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, November 22, 2004 at 7:00pm
Rated NR ·
Acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater (School of Rock, Waking Life) returns with the follow up to his immensely successful and intelligently romantic film, 1995’s Before Sunrise. A favourite of the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, Before Sunset is an equally compelling meditation on the passage of time, the powerful effects of age, and the inevitability of fate.
Nearly a decade has passed since Jesse (Ethan Hawke, Training Day) and Celine (Julie Delpy, Waking Life) met on a train. Their chance encounter led to an unforgettable night on the streets of Vienna. Another not-so chance encounter reunites them in Paris: Jesse has written a novel about the magical night they spent together and is in town for a reading of his book. Celine – now an aid worker for an environmental protection agency – happens to stroll into the store (one she often frequents) and instantly connects with the pleasantly surprised author. They have only a few hours before Jesse is due at the airport to catch the plane that will return him to his wife and son in New York.That leaves only a precious ninety minutes for them to stroll about the Left Bank, discussing relationsips, politics and life.
Celine is also engaged in a serious relationship with a photojournalist. As they continue to walk and talk, several unexpected revelations come to light – such as what became of their planned return to Vienna, six months following their initial encounter – and they begin to realize that the night they spent together has become equally important to both of them. The camera captures their intimate conversation almost entirely in real time, with unobtrusive and smooth long takes, and while the film maintains a breezy, stream-of-consciousness feel, it is in fact tightly scripted (not a single word of dialogue is improvised) and structured.
Linklater’s familiarity and comfort with his actors allows for the film to avoid the potential pitfalls of its seemingly loose and cerebral premise. Both Delpy and Hawke turn in positively breathtaking performances, and the relaxed chemistry between the two stars is undeniable. Before Sunset was shot in only fifteen days, and is an expression of the intense collaboration of its filmmakers – Delpy and Hawke co-wrote the script with Linklater, and Delpy even performs some of the film’s music. The result is a passionate, romantic and realistic portrait of two people that builds towards a final quiet, gentle and indelible revelation.