Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Before Sunset


It’s even better. The budget is listed as $10 million at the IMDb, and I can’t believe that. The budget for Before Sunrise was $2.5 million, and this is simpler and shorter and has only a few locations and a small crew. Inflation, or star salaries? Whatever … it was developed by Linklater, the director, and by Hawke and Delpy, rehearsed for two weeks, and shot in three weeks, all in Paris. It is in real time, that is 80 minutes pass on the screen. It is all talk. If you don’t like that, this isn’t for you. The two walk and talk and drink coffee and talk, ride on a bateau in the Seine, and talk. I loved it! It’s like eavesdropping on a wildly interesting conversation, you seem to be floating along with them. SEE THESE TWO MOVIES IN ORDER!!! You will be wondering if they really got together six months later in Vienna. I won’t tell you. You’ll wonder what’s happened to them in nine years. I won’t tell you that, either. In fact, I won’t tell you anything except that, if you don’t really, really, really like these two people on at least some level … I probably won’t like you. If you haven’t had a night of nights like they have in the first one, you’ve missed an important part of your life. And if you haven’t gotten together with someone important to you after the passage of many years, you’ve missed the bitter and the sweet. These movies are so honest and so charming and so utterly engrossing. They are worth 20 or 30 big SFX movies. Make that 50.
Technical note: making a movie like this is hard! Some of the takes are very long, five or six minutes, lines have to be remembered and delivered the same every take, the light has to match, the steadicam crews and actors have to hit a lot of marks along the way. One screwup and it’s back to square one to do the whole thing over.
I had a thought while watching, and later read Roger Ebert’s review and saw we’d had the same thought. There is a series of films that begin with one called Seven Up, that takes about a dozen kids seven years old, interviews them, then comes back seven years later. There was a 14 Up, and a 21 Up. The last was 49 Up. I’d like to see the whole series in order. What a document of life! And if they make another in this series in 2012 … nothing could keep me away from it.