Sunday, January 15, 2012
JEFF OF THE CINEFILES: HALL OF FAME: FILE #0018: BEFORE SUNRISE (1995)
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
Cinematography By: Lee Daniel
Editor: Sandra Adair
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
American tourist Jesse and French student Celine meet by chance on the train from Budapest to Vienna. Sensing that they are developing a connection, Jesse asks Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna, and she agrees. Passing the time before his scheduled flight the next morning. How do two perfect strangers connect so intimately over the course of a single day? What is that special thing that bonds two people so strongly? As their bond turns to love, what will happen to them the next morning when Jesse flies away?
Based on a night that Writer-Director Richard Linklater took with a woman when he was young. One of my favorite movies. Why because it seems to be about so little, but manages to make an impact and seem personal to whoever watches it. Making it universal in it’s aspect. Two young people walking around Vienna talking, but it is about so much more. The conversations are at times trite, but reveal so much about the characters and their lives.
This film is a combination of scenery and dialogue. As the locations are natural, Colorful, historical and rich. It’s Europe after all.
The film works as a Romance, Comedy, Travelogue and a social look at the mind set of contemporary youth of the 90’s. Either way it’s like one of those classic movies with a certain style and grace. With an empahasis on Character and dialogue. This is not only a minor classic but a classic film. So many scenes that I remember and cherish in my memory from this movie, being the hopeless romantic that I am. This is a movie I truly believe should be shown in film schools. To teach the student about composition of shots and writing characters and making them truthful.
The scenes that spark the most are the scene where the leads are in a store listening to a record and stealing glances at each other, but looking away when the other looks. The Street Poet who can make a poem centered around whatever word you give him. The longing seen in each other’s eyes as the day comes to a close. The wondering Did they or Didn’t they in the morning after.
This film was followed by a sequel picking up 10 years later. The characters are older. So we get some of our questions answered. We get to find out how they have changed since the last time that they saw each other. Some more questions are actually put forth.
I remember seeing this film in the theater with my cousin. A quarter of the audience walked out. The film was advertised as a romantic comedy with wacky hijinks. The audience didn’t expect a dialogue heavy film that really only has 2 characters. They wanted Pratfalls and slapstick. The audience reacting so negatively to the film only made me realize what a one of a kind film this was. It’s a gem .As the remaining audience sighed about when would the film be over or when they would stop talking and have more action. It made me realize how unique and beautiful the film was, line by line and Scene by scene. Thank god for Home video and dvd where it gained it’s audience.
I wish I could say this is the film that made me want to be a filmmaker. It’s not of course, but it opened my eyes to the fact that films didn’t have to be only plot and story based, They could also just be about characters. This is a film that is mostly conversations, but it is what isn’t spoken that is really going on. We have to read between the lines. It made me want to write and tell stories that were more personal and smaller. So while not being the inspiration, It is one of the films that helped guide and inform me to the style and type of films I wanted to make. As well as helping to open me up to films that are different then what was the usual blockbuster type.
This is a nice sweet film. if you haven’t seen it. You should discover on DVD.I don’t think you’ll be disappointed