I guess I’ve let enough time elapse between the live review of Before Sunrise and today, so I’m totally psyched and ready for another talky movie in the ten-years-later sequel Before Sunset, again directed by Richard Linklater and again presented by old friend Denise Cook.
Since the feature film is actually pretty short (coming in at about 80 minutes) we went kind of hog wild with the shorts. Unfortunately I’m only going to be batting .333 with the shorts in this write-up, and while that’s great for MLB, it’s pretty bad for Cinema 1544.
First off, Phong showed us a short that my notes indicate was titled “Ed”. I suspect that it was this film, but it could possibly have been this film, or maybe even neither of the above. At any rate, I can’t find any of these on YouTube so I can’t exactly verify. (Sure, I could email Phong, but I’m just too lazy. Maybe I’ll ask when I see him in October.)
On top of that short, I showed two Kids in the Hall skits. One of them I entitled “Time Flies”. I know which skit it is – it’s the one where Dave (I’m pretty sure it was Dave) exits the house in the morning, comes back a few moments later for some reason and like ten years have passed with his wife. Then he does it again and another huge chunk of time has passed…it’s appropriate because Before Sunset and all, but the problem is that the real skit isn’t called “Time Flies”. And I Googled and couldn’t find it and I read every single skit title they ever put out and I have no clue what they called it. None of the reasonable candidates I could find panned out to actually be the skit in question. And I’m not watching the entire series from the beginning to find this skit. But at the very least, I had no trouble finding “The Night I Connected With My Dog”. So here you go, one for three:
And now…it’s time for talky movie #2, live-reviewed!
In case you forgot, Before Sunrise ended with Hawke and Delpy promising to meet at the train station in Vienna six months later. Do you suppose that happened? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, Hawke went and wrote a book about it (nine years later) and ends up going on a book tour of Europe. I think you can figure out where things are going to go from here (and I’m not talking about the numerous flashbacks to the last movie). Delpy shows up at the book tour in Paris, and Hawke has to get to the airport by 7:30 PM. (This setup seems oddly familiar.)
They pretty quickly start clearing the air – he actually showed up, she didn’t because her grandmother had just died and she had to go to the funeral. She apologizes profusely and they jump right back into the first movie – talking, talking, talking (a lot about his book) – except this time it’s Paris instead of Vienna. They hit a café for a bit and then walk around the city. He’s married with a kid, she’s in a relationship, so we shouldn’t have a lot of sexual tension, right?
Well, he’s not terribly happy in his marriage, she’s not terribly happy in her relationship (she even works herself up into a frenzy at one point over how that night nine years ago kind of messed her up) and it becomes pretty obvious they never got over each other. They eventually make their way back to her apartment and she plays him a waltz she had written about that night, which given his book is an interesting symmetry.
But after all of this, that plane of his isn’t going to wait for two old lovers to finish their conversation and the only question is how the movie is going to end. And the answer is, Delpy is dancing to some Nina Simone on the CD player and says, “Baby, you’re going to miss that plane.” “I know,” Hawke says, and laughs gently into the fade.
The end. Until the next movie.
Above all, Linklater (and Hawke and Delpy) do a fantastic job of bringing a long and extended conversation to life. Despite the fact that it must have been scripted, it sounds entirely natural, complete with those tiny little tangential sotto voces that are so rare on screen – for instance Delpy gives Hawke a cigarette and is off on some speech when Hawke holds it up, clearly pointing out that it’s unlit. “Blah blah blah oh, sorry, blah blah blah blah” she says as she hands over her cigarette so he can light up, without ever once really stopping her train of thought. This sort of thing is featured over and over and it really contributes to the illusion that we’re simply looking in on a real conversation. The film becomes this voyeuristic experience, but you know it’s totally OK in this case. And that’s a good thing – that the film is enjoyable to watch – because nothing really happens other than Hawke deliberately missing his plane to stay with Delpy, for how long we won’t know unless we watch the next one.