Before Sunrise 2?

Richard Linklater made a film some years ago called Before Sunrise. What I remember of it is Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy riding trains across Europe, falling in love with each other, talking a lot, and only having a limited amount of time until they part. Brief Crossing has a lot in common with that film, but it's ultimately a much more cynical take on the material.

We start with a young frenchman, Thomas, sixteen years of age but pretending to be eighteen, getting on the cruise ship Pride of Le Havre travelling overnight to Portsmouth. Where he's headed and why are never really revealed, but it doesn't seem like a terribly new experience for him.

He meets Alice, English and somewhere in her thirties, while going through the cafeteria line. They strike up a quick friendship and talk a lot, about such things as drinking, relationships, age, how men are such jerks, smoking, and the relative appeal of being a plastic surgeon versus other professions.

Surprise, surprise, young Thomas is a little hornball, and is fairly plain about what he wants. Alice, being older, is more subtle in general, yet isn't uninterested and helps guide Thomas and his awkward advances. By the end of the film, we are able to question both her intentions and her morality.

The film is very atmospheric, making for a very realistic setting. Fans of Catherine Breillat may be a tinge disappointed by the brief nature of the sexuality, but it's clearly her creation from the attitudes we see about innocence and cynicism. Breillat isn't for everyone, but this film actually makes a good introduction, being a tad more accessible than her other films (at least the ones I've seen). This one, as the others, is about characters and their own relationship to their sexuality. It's thought provoking, but does not so much offer explanations as suggest things are simply as they are.

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