A/V Room









Before Sunset - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

THE long-awaited sequel to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise drew an enthusiastic response from audiences and critics, when it received its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival last week.

The French-American love story, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, became a firm romantic favourite when it was released in 1994, thanks to its simple but effective tale of an American, travelling through Europe, who has a chance meeting with a woman on a train and spends the next 24 hours together with her in Vienna, during which they fall in love.

That film concluded with a promise, by both people, to meet in six months, at the end of the American’s tours, and it left audiences divided as to whether this would have actually taken place.

The sequel, Before Sunset, answers that question, and is set sometime after the original meeting, as Hawke, now a best-selling author, meets Delpy, in Paris, at the end of a European promotion tour for his latest novel, which was, ironically, inspired by their brief affair in Vienna.

Only this time, rather than 24 hours, the couple have a mere 90 minutes to discuss their feelings for each other, and plans for the future, while explaining why a tragedy prevented the initial six-month reunion from taking place.

The original cost $2.4 million to make, but earned $20 million (making it one of the most successful independents of the time), while also earning Linklater (currently responsible for Jack Black comedy, The School of Rock), a Silver Bear, as best director, at the 1995 Berlinale.

The follow-up, which both Hawke and Delpy prefer to refer to as ‘a continuation’ rather than a sequel, is expected to take a lot more, having become a cult favourite among hopeless romantics the world over.

Linklater, himself, is also keen to avoid the term sequel, stating that sequel has a tendency to mean ‘economic interest’, whereas this simply wasn’t the case.

"We did it for personal reasons," he explained. "We had been talking about it since wrapping up Before Sunrise. We finally got serious three or four years ago. It was only a matter of ‘when’ and ‘how’."

The film was subsequently shot in 15 days, and lasts 90 minutes, and, for Delpy in particular, ‘finishes something missing for me’.

While Hawke put the delay in producing the project down to ‘being scared’, for fear of making a second film that might not be as good.

The reaction from Berlin, however, would seem to suggest they have got it right, as Before Sunset is one of 23 films competing for Golden and Silver Bear awards at the 11-day festival, which is rated among the world’s top film festivals.

The film itself will be the first film released by Warner Independent Pictures, a unit of Warner Bros and Time Warner Inc, and is scheduled for a US release in June.

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