Some memories never fade
Every now and then I hear of a film project and think, "oh, please!" - films like Fear dot com or From Justin to Kelly. Upon hearing that a sequel to Before Sunrise was in the works, I immediately wondered why there was a need? Do the unanswered questions from the original really need to be answered? A certain place and time was captured then, and the beauty seemed to lie in its simple unity.
But the reason a sequel works is that, for the characters, this wasn't enough. They have unresolved feelings. And what about meeting six months later on the train platform? What happened there? Well, the young couple, thrown together so briefly by circumstance, have gone on to live their separate lives, but with the nagging memory of this one night always there in the background.
The pretext for Jesse and Celine to meet again is the book Jesse wrote, about a young couple who randomly spend a beautiful night together... the inspiration is obvious, and Celine shows up at the stop of his European book tour, in Paris. It's actually a quite reasonable way to get them together, if a little convenient.
I could go on, but like the first one, this is a talky movie, and much of the plot has to be drawn from their revelations to each other. Not that plot is that important here, it's the interplay of these two characters above all, but I might as well leave some surprises for you folk. Suffice it to say that there are things they need to resolve, but they also need to get know each other again as well.
If you know Linklater (director, and co-writer with stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy), you're familiar with the constant patter between his characters, on subjects both near and far from the action at hand. More so than his other films, the seemingly idle chatter really means something here, because there's something truly at stake for both of these people, something deep and complicated that just won't yield to any direct approach.
I meant to go back and see Before Sunrise first, but a screening popped up before I had a chance. And I have to say that there's no real need. In fact, I think the experience got a boost, as Jesse and Celine jibe each other about what really happened that night, my own hazy memories fit in very well.
The setting is beautiful, the cinematography capturing the action (such as it is) and the city equally well, often in long, long steadicam shots and the characters walk through the streets. Not that Linklater wouldn't know how to shoot his material, but the visual treatment is a perfect accompaniment to the shifting sands in the dialog.
I know this film isn't for everyone, and neither was the first. But for those who can get into this sort of thing, it's hard to imagine it any better.
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