Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
Nine years ago in Before Sunrise, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) two 23-year-old travellers in Vienna, met, fell in love and parted 24 hours later, promising to meet again in six months time. Did they or didn’t they keep that rendez-vous? Director Richard Linklater has observed that how you answer that question is a litmus test for your own views on romance. Now he and the stars of the earlier film have come up with their own answer in this poignant, sexy – and yes, romantic – film about the differences a decade can make. Jesse is now in Paris promoting his novel that focuses on the encounter. Céline comes along to a reading. Afterwards, in the hour or so he has to spare before heading to the airport, they wander through a sunlit and impossibly romantic Paris, talking. Both were obviously deeply affected by their earlier encounter, and now, given a second chance, they both have to decide what to do next.
“From Slacker to Tape, Linklater has always worked well with compact durations, and in this ultra-brief encounter (a mere 80 minutes), the director and his actors (all three share writing credit) thrillingly orchestrate an entire movie’s worth of real-time momentum… The two stroll down Left Bank streets and along the Seine, riffing up a storm – a digressive, lifelike torrent of nervous niceties, banal chat, cagey evasions, earnest philosophizing, and strategic confessions – all the while trying to keep regret at bay. Hawke’s Jesse has lost some of his narcissistic pretensions (and the actor gamely leaves his novelist alter ego open to mockery), but as in the first film, Delpy’s the heartbreaker.” — Dennis Lim, Village Voice