Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight – the ultimate Romantic Trilogy.
written by: Souranath Banerjee.
It was June 16, 1994. On a train traveling from Budapest, a beautiful French girl Celine (Julie Delpy) meets Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young handsome American traveller and soon enough they fall in love!
They got to spend one evening together in Vienna before Jesse took his flight back home. Celine and Jesse had each other’s company till Before Sunrise. So they decided to walk around the city and talk.
And this mystical romantic evening shared between Celine and Jesse is known as Before Sunrise, one of the best love stories ever made and the first of Richard Linklater‘s famous “Before” trilogy.
After Before Sunrise (1995) their followed Before Sunset (2004) and then Before Midnight (2013) in exact nine year intervals.
In Before Sunset Celine and Jesse meet in Paris where they re-connect with each other and take a positive decision over their feelings.
And the third installment Before Midnight happens in Greece which portrays the sweet-bitter consequences that eventually follows each and every love story.
The extraordinary chemistry between Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke gets more and more enticing in each of these sequels.
It is interesting to note that on the two sequels, the director and both the lead actors have received equal screenwriting credits!
Richard Linklater, the master of experimental film making (Boyhood being another one of his ingenious projects recently released) has shot the two characters Celine and Jesse over a period of two decades to capture their evolving maturity as they age.
I guess François Truffaut was the only other director who followed a particular screen character named Antoine Doinel for a stretch of five films and over a period of 20 years. It was played by Jean-Pierre Léaud and the five films are collectively called ‘The adventures of Antoine Doinel’.
Coming back to the ‘Before’ trilogy, in all the three films the performance level of the two lead actors are simply outstanding.
In the words of the director himself ‘It’s a tribute to Ethan and Julie how well rehearsed and what good actors they are. It’s the kind of acting they don’t really give awards to because people accept it as real. It’s kind of like the apes at the beginning of 2001 – they didn’t win best costume because they thought they were real. People think we just turn on a camera and we catch these dialogues.‘
Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight – these films are not so called ‘mainstream’ cinema; they neither have loud comic sequences or CG dream worlds as backdrops, nor they have any eye-popping sex scenes to look forward.
And yet these films are the most critically acclaimed love stories of our times. A must watch for people who appreciate true love.
If St.Valentine was alive i bet the ‘Before’ trilogy would definitely be among his top ten list!