Richard Linklater shot to limelight in the early ’90s as one of the most-talented filmmakers on the American independent cinema scene. A self-taught filmmaker, who left formal education so that he could make films proved his choice of life right when he made the brilliant Slacker (1991), Dazed and Confused (1993) and Before Sunrise (1995). With these movies, he was to embark upon a journey of filmmaking which would result in one of the finest love trilogies ever made in the history of cinema. Shot inminimalist style, the film focused on two characters who just happen to connect and start having genuinely meaningful conversations. The remarkable aspect of ‘Before Trilogy’ is the writing and dialogue of the movies which gave his films a natural touch and spontaneity of life. All these movies established the classic style of Richard Linklater; a conversational script, ordinary yet dreamy characters, easy-flowing dialogue, minimal use of camera and setting the films in natural locations. By large, major film critics have praised the movie, and audience around the world just love this wonderful tale of love, longing and relationships and enjoy experiencing a great story on their screens.
Below are some of my thoughts about the three films that belong to one of the most-loved trilogies of world cinema:
The first movie of the Before Trilogy, this movie tells the story of Jesse Wallace (a young American man) and Celine (a young French woman) who happen to meet each other on a train and from there onwards, this encounter turns into a conversation leading up to a level where they both realize that they deeply connected with each other. The movie ends on an ambiguous noteand we keep wondering whether they met each other again or not. The movie was inspired by a woman Richard Linklater met in a toy shop and had a long conversation with her that night. Before Sunrise opened to a high critical acclaim and many people saw this as a cinematic metaphor for their lives and relationships. Before Sunrise is a sort of movie which evokes a longing for the complete reunion with one’s love interest and instinctively sought mutual understanding through its lead characters in the film. What was really remarkable in the movie was that it treated its characters as real people and expressed a sense of finding true love as a romantic possibility, even in the fictional realm of movies.
The sequel to Before Sunrise, Before Sunset actually takes off 9 years after Jesse and Celine went separate ways at the train station in Before Sunrise. By now, Jesse has become a celebrated writer and the book he wrote inspired by his meeting with Celine, has become a bestseller. He is in Europe on a book tour when he meets Celine again. Old sparks get reignitedand they quickly find themselves talking to each other about various things in their life, not to say their relationships. Before Sunset has one of the most tantalizing yet beautiful ending of all love stories. The film ends with the sequence of Jesse sitting on the couch in Celine’s home and she just puts on the record and dances to the song ‘Just in Time’ by Nina Simone. Before Sunset was met with even more acclaimand it quickly gained the reputation of being a more mature work of Richard Linklater than the previous film. Perhaps, the beauty of Before Sunset comes from the fact that neither Jesse nor Celine have anything to lose or win in their relationshipand this aspect makes them totally spontaneous when they are in each other’s company. This movie too ended on an ambiguous note leaving the audience wondering what happened to Celine and Jesse after that. Only time was going to answer this question. Approximately, 8 years later when the third part of the trilogy, Before Midnight released to universal acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival 2013
The third part of the ‘Before trilogy’, Before Midnight released last year and opened to a positive response world-over,keeping the reputation of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset alive. The third movie has Jesse and Celine married to each other with twin daughters (which Celine conceived when she met Jesse last time). Jesse has a son from his ex-wife whom he divorced in order to marry Celine. On the other hand, Celine divorced her husband too so that she could be with Jesse. They both spend their time in countryside Greece and the film is again much about about the conversation they have with each other and their friends in the movie. They keep talking about their love, relationships, aspirations; basically everything under the sun, all collectively speaking about the relationship Jesse and Celine share with each other. The movie in the end shows that they both start having differences and arguments crop up, yet again. Celine says that they won’t have the perfect relationship as their fantasies of a romantic love will never be a real picture because of the imperfect relationship they have with each other. But in the end, they reconcile when Jesse says that he unconditionally loves herand she starts responding to his jokes. Before Midnight was made on a modest budget and did considerable business along with receiving much critical acclaim. With Before Midnight, Richard Linklater managed to make one of the most consummate film trilogies and among the finest films on love and relationships, not to say stamping his style of non-formulaic narratives and randomly meeting a person in the time frame of 24 hours with a distinct cinematic flair.