Film runs Fri, Jan 3 through Thu, Jan 9.
Richard Linklater, 2004
USA | Format: 35mm | 80 minutes
Before Sunset picks up nine years after Sunrise’s open-ended finale. The immediate question—did Jesse and Celine reunite in Vienna six months later, as planned?—soon gets eclipsed by other, knottier ones: questions of commitment, fidelity, responsibility, and the great subject of Linklater’s trilogy, time. The setting has been re-located from Vienna to Paris, and the time frame narrowed from twelve hours to two. Jesse and Celine themselves have changed: they’re less self-conscious and less self-satisfied, worried about the extent to which their lives are ossifying, nervous about settling into adulthood. But the most jarring change is in Delpy and Hawke, whose noticeably tauter, wearier faces seem to have registered all their characters’ setbacks and disappointments. Before Sunset is packed with moments of heartbreaking emotional clarity—a series of initial flashbacks; a painful ferry-boat ride; a taxi meltdown—and ends, like its predecessor, with a gesture that works as both a tease and a consummation. (With some help from Nina Simone.)