In the winter of 1995 Richard Linklater’s transcontinental love trilogy premiered with the eternally perfect Before Sunrise, breaking hearts everywhere. And since, that film and it’s following Before Sunset and Before Midnight have played out as the epitome of rare requited love thwarted by time and space. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again that when you watch these films, for all the tears you cannot help but shed, you’re always left with the pangs of hopefulness. It excites something in you and tickles your heart to know that somewhere on a tram in Europe, your ideal soulmate could be pensively starring out a window wondering if there’s something he’s missing.
But before those, there was Linklater’s now beloved Dazed and Confused and Slacker. And in the video below from 1995, you can see watch the director in an hour long interview in which he talks philosophy, independent cinema, youth, and more. Enjoy.
At one point in Before Sunset, Jesse begins to admit that in the months leading up to his wedding, he couldn’t stop thinking of Celine. He would see her everywhere, all the time, always in New York—especially once folding up an umbrella and entering a deli on 13th and Broadway. But she was off living in Europe somewhere, so he knew he was crazy. And of course, Celine then tells him that she was actually living in New York at that time—on 11th and Broadway.
It’s a small moment but an absolutely heartbreaking one—knowing that their lives could have been entirely different had he just glanced out of the car window again to see if it was her, knowing that this person whom he met once, yet possessed him so completely as an intangible longing inside him, was in fact right under his nose— and he never knew it. They never knew it.
But yes, that’s is just one of many painfully wonderful and sob-inducing moments in Richard Linklater’s transcontinental love trilogy. And since Before Sunrise‘s premiere in 1994, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have been our Celine and Jesse, playing out the epitome of rare requited love thwarted by time and space. You watch these films, and for all the tears you cannot help but shed, you’re always left with the pangs of hopefulness. It excites something in you and tickles your heart to know that somewhere on a tram in Europe, your ideal soulmate could be pensively starring out a window wondering if there’s something he’s missing.
And with the third installment, Before Midnight, the thrill of will they or won’t they may have diminished but Celine and Jesse’s relationship has deepened and morphed into something real, not simply the phantom idea of what love could be. So, to get you in the weepy mood for the films, let’s take a walking back with Celine and Jesse on some of their most wonderfully insightful and intimate moments.
Although I may have had the good fortune of already seeing the third installement of Richard Linklater’s transient love trilogy, Before Midnight, don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything for you. And now, neither will the first official trailer for the film.
After premiering at Sundance to an audience full of excitement, everyone has been abuzz as to the film’s theatrical release, which is now set for Memorial Day Weekend—and it cannot come quickly enough. But if you really don’t want to know anything about this round of Celine and Jesse, if you are really still puzzling over whether Jesse got on that plane, then I would suggest perhaps skipping the trailer entirely. I mean, we’ve all seen the photos, you know the two are physically together in the film, but perhaps that’s all you should know going into the film.
However, I will say that, as these films are wont to be, Before Midnight is a charming, intelligent, and heartfelt film filled with walking and talking and discussing life’s minute details and the larger questions of existence that plague us all.
The official synopsis reads:
Jesse and Celine first met on a Eurail train and experienced 14 hours of deep connection as they explored Vienna. Nine years later, Celine found Jesse at a Paris book store, the last stop on his book tour. They had one day together before he was meant to fly out that night. Now, we meet up with the two off-and-on lovers nine years later, in Greece.
For the past nine years, we’ve all been waiting to see if Jesse ever got on that plane and what became of him and Celine in Richard Linklater’s 2004 intimate walking-and-talking romance Before Sunset, the follow-up to 1995’s Before Sunrise. And now, eighteen years since that first moment in Vienna, we finally get to see where their story lands. Sony Pictures Classics have acquired Before Midnight, and to our delight it’s been revealed that the film we’ve been waiting so long with baited breath to see will finally have a limited release run starting May 24th in New York and Los Angeles. But Linklater’s decade-spanning drama isn’t the only one getting an official date. Pedro Almodovar’s follow-up to last year’s The Skin I Live in, the vibrant comedy I’m So Excited, will hit New York and L.A. on June 28th. And to top it off, as Woody Allen’s annual film will have a mid-summer’s release. Midnight in Paris and To Rome with Love both premiered in early June but his latest, Blue Jasmine (starring Cate Blanchett, Alec baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, and Louis CK), will roll out on July 26th for a limited release.
So as if you weren’t already looking forward to summer, there are plenty of fantastic films headed our way, all sure to tickle your cinematic fancy. So while you’re cracking open your planner, take a look at what else is set to premiere in the season and what we’re most excited about—from Shane Carruth’s haunting sophomore feature to Danny Boyle’s latest masterpiece.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Derek Cianfrance’s epic triptych drama about a motorcycle stunt rider who turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
Shane Carrauth’s confounding and stunnigly complex sophomore effort about a man and woman who are drawn together and become entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
Matteo Garrone’s larger-than-life surrealist follow-up to Gommorah, the film is set in the world of reality television and follows a Neapolitan fishmonger who participates in Grande Fratello, the Italian version of Big Brother.
To the Wonder
Terrence Malick’s latest sprawling poem of images is a romantic drama that tells the story of a couple who move to Oklahoma, where problems arise as we watch the natural progression of love’s painful ebb and flow.
Co-written by director Noah Baumbach and star Greta Gerwig, we get a black-and-white look a a floundering young woman who works as an apprentice in a dance company and wants so much more than she has but lives life with unaccountable joy and lightness.
Danny Boyle’s vibrant and mystifying heist of the mind drama about an art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals that partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting.
Antonio Campos’s psychologically distrubing yet visually beautiful drama about a recent college graduate who travels to France, where he becomes involved with a young prostitute.
Beyond the Hills
Cristian Mungiu’s third feature that centers on the friendship between two young women who grew up in the same orphanage; one has found refuge at a convent in Romania and refuses to leave with her friend, who now lives in Germany.
Zal Batmanglij’s sophomore effort is a psycholigically challenging eco-thriller about an operative for an elite private intelligence firm who finds her priorities irrevocably changed after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.
Xavier Dolan’s ornate transgender epic about a man who reveals his inner desire to become his true self: a woman. Spanning through the late 1980s into the early 1990s, the story chronicles a doomed love affair.
Tim Sutton’s subtly poignant and ethereal film plays out almost silently as it tells the story of Max, who leaves his lakeside town to live with his father in suburban Arizona.
With only a little over a day left of the Sundance Film Festival, acquisitions are firing up left and right as studios manically rush snatch up the features they anticipate will garner further success and make back the enormous amounts of cash they’ve been acquiring them for. We’ve seen record-breaking deals this week with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon’s Addiction and the ensemble comedy The Way, Way Back, but now it’s been reported that the bidding war for Richard Linklater’s third installment of Jesse and Celine’s decades-spanning tale of what could be, Before Midnight, has been won by Sony Pictures Classics.
Apparently the studio paid "well into seven figures" for the drama, which is a pretty hefty bill for a film that’s not exactly guaranteed to make all of that back. I mean, yes, of course people worship these movies and have been waiting almost a decade just to find out if Jesse got on that plane, but it’s a particular niche. Whatever, I’m just happy it exists. So when will we get to see it? Before Sunrise had a January release while Before Sunset opened in the heat of July, and with anticipation running high on the picture it would make sense of the studio to possibly give the Greece-set film a summer release. Here’s to hoping!
Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply as Jesse and Celine first simultaneously ignited our hearts and ripped them apart eighteen years ago with Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and did it again nine years after that with Before Sunset. I mean, I’m pretty sure I still want to curl up in a ball and cry whenever I remember the part when they’re sitting on the boat and he says to her:
Jesse: In the months leading up to my wedding, I was thinking about you all the time. I mean, even on my way there; I’m in the car, a buddy of mine is driving me downtown and I’m staring out the window, and I think I see you, not far from the church, right? Folding up an umbrella and walking into a deli on the corner of 13th and Broadway. And I thought I was going crazy, but now I think it probably was you. Celine: I lived on 11th and Broadway.
And at last night’s Sundance premiere it seems they did it again with the third installment of their lovelorn saga, Before Midnight. This time, we’ll not only find out if Jesse did in fact miss that plane, as we see them nine years later—this time walking and talking around Greece. Each film has been an incredibly collaborative process for the actors and their director, and although Before Midnight seems to be one of the most anticipated films of the year, until the premiere last night little was known about the project. "Hawke had previously teased that, ‘The biggest change between this one and the last one is the Internet’ and that, ‘I feel like in a strange way we may have come to the end of the story.’ Check out some new pictures from the film and take a look back here later to see the latest reviews—that is, if you really want someone else to tell you what you’ve been waiting nine years to see for yourself.
Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise is a modern romance classic, only slightly less convincing than the superior sequel, Before Sunset. Both films star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. In 1995’s Sunrise, the pair, an American traveler named Jesse and a French girl named Celine, fall in love within a matter of hours during a night-long tour of Vienna. The couple reunited nine years later in Sunset, which follows them as they stroll around Paris, catching up after seeing each other for the first time since they departed the Austrian capital. Hawke and Delpy improvised a great deal of the Sunset script, and were nominated (along with original screenwriters Linklater and Kim Krizan) for an Oscar. Linklater spoke at the time about revisiting Jesse and Celine again, and Hawke revealed this week that he and Delpy are planning work on a new script.
"Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do but I know the three of us have been talking a lot in the last six months," Hawke told French site Allocine (the highlights from which can be found on indieWire). "All of three of us have been having similar feelings that we’re ready to revisit those characters. There’s nine years between the first two movies and, if we made the film next summer, it would be nine years again so we’re really started thinking that would be a good thing to do. We’re going to try write it this year."
It’d be interesting to see where another nine years takes the lovely indie couple, who first met in their ideological post-collegiate period, and then again as jaded thirtysomethings who had seen their ideals change, and had experienced more mature and scarring romantic disappointments. They realize that they are, despite nine years of distance and having only shared a handful of hours together, still in love. Will they still be together in this new film, or will they meet randomly again, having shared a history that will unravel through their dialogue?
After Sunset was released in 2004, Linklater compared the pair of films to François Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series, which spanned five films over twenty years beginning with The 400 Blows. "Even Truffaut’s Doinel series didn’t seem to have a total rhyme or reason to it. A film just popped out every now and then," Linklater told Filmmaker Magazine. "I think whenever Truffaut probably had a good idea or felt Antoine come into his system and wanted to check in with him again, that’s probably when [a film] happened…. After Before Sunset, I think all three of us decided, Yeah, this is a story we would have to visit again. It won’t be an encounter; it will be digging into the belly of the domestic beast. Like, how two people live together—something like that."
If the film is completed within the next year, Linklater and his actors would be right on schedule for a 2013 release—nine years after we last left Jesse and Celine.