A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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BEFORE SUNSET
2004 - Richard Linklater - United States
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What a gorgeous film this is. As brilliant as 1995's Before Sunrise is (and I believe it to be an absolute masterpiece) Before Sunset is equal- if not better- in every way! I love these films! Much like the first film, it's such a simplistic approach yet reaches depths and complexities of endless philosophical and romantic themes. Ultimately everything centers around the connection or longing of two human souls. While together both films are wonderful, Before Sunset is really a sequel that stands on it's own. What this film does is it takes a second chance at fate and gives us a thoughtful and lyrical look at the very progression of life. Whether intended or not, Before Sunset is indeed a very spiritual film. Richard Linklater's direction is fabulous. Once again he features long, elaborate tracking shots as the couple move throughout the backdrop of the city (this time the location is beautiful Paris, which captures an absorbing and breathtaking atmosphere). The film has the look and feel of a dream. I think the camera is floating through the Paris air!!! Ethan Hawke and especially the radiant Julie Delpy deserve equal credit to Linklater, not only for the wonderful recreation of the characters (Jesse and Celine 9 years later), but also for co-writing the brilliant dialogue. They each inhabit their roles to such perfection it's truly a joy to watch. Their conversations are full of energy as it displays both humor and heartache in reflecting upon the past 9 years. Time has passed, their lives have changed, even their perspective of life of changed (perhaps more cynical and less hopefully romantic while more reflective and spiritually connected), yet the true feelings and longing within their soul remains and it is equally painful and beautiful. This is particularly expressed in one of the films most revealing and unforgettable sequences on the car ride back to Celine's house. Every moment of Before Sunset works, as it arrives to its emotional (and again, very open) ending. There are several interpretations as to what will happen with Jesse and Celine, but much of it relates to an early sequence at Jesse's book signing in which he compared the cynic to the romantic. However you see the film at it's conclusion it's a very thought-provoking and brilliant ending that carries a variety of human emotions: sadness, regret, anger, excitement, and remembrance (highlighted by the wonderful Nina Simone singing 'Just In Time'). I love this film so much and will continue to rewatch it over and over everytime feeling differently or perhaps breathtakingly curious about what continues after the fade to black over Nina Simone singing… and I love that the curiosity will never go away!!!
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