Film Comment’s Essential Cinema: “Before Midnight”

Happy Friday everyone! Celine and Jesse Forever, a four-film retrospective featuring the loving (and lovable) protagonists of Richard Linklater's highly acclaimed Before films begins a week-long run today at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. That's right, Before Sunrise, Waking Life, Before Sunset and Before Midnight will have multiple (as many as eight) screenings throughout the week. As we find ourselves taking a look back at the movies selected for Film Comment's 2013 Essential Cinema series, there isn't a more appropriate time to shed some light on one entry in particular, Before Midnight.

Writing from the Sundance Film Festival, where the film premiered on January 20th 2013, Amy Taubin updated readers on the protagonists' current predicament:

The characters are now near-middle-aged and the demands of Jesse and, surprise, their two daughters, have plunged the irrepressible Céline into an existential crisis that volcanically erupts during what was intended as an intimate getaway. Unleashing a stream of feminist consciousness that is both outraged and outrageous—and cathartic because we are laughing with her, not at her—Céline emerges as a 21st-century hero and Delpy as the Carole Lombard of our time.

To celebrate its commercial theatrical release, Before Midnight was given the cover of the May/June 2013 edition of Film Comment. Phillip Lopate wrote the cover story discussing the trilogy as a whole:

Before Midnight, like its two predecessors, is about the flowering of a mood over a period of less than a day between two characters: an American, Jesse, and a Frenchwoman, Celine. But where the earlier two films achieve erotic release, the third keeps veering off into irritable argument, which curiously seems proof that the couple have finally achieved a true intimacy.

"Celine and Jesse Forever" runs January 3 - 9. If you see three or more films in the series, you can save with our Discount Package. More information is available here.

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