I watched these 2 movies over the last couple nights based on a recommendation from a student. I sat down late Thursday night with a French beer (it just felt right) and dove headlong into the story of two serendipitous travelers. The first film (Sunrise) came out in 1995 and stars Ethan Hawke and Julia Delpy. The film follows an early 20's American (Hawke) and Frenchwoman (Delpy) who meet on a Vienna-bound train. They get off the train in Vienna and spend several hours walking around the city discussing life; their hopes, fears, failures and passions. The film is dialogue heavy and seems almost voyeuristic in the way the viewer is able to be a part of the character's conversations. I was told to watch both films close together and I can agree that it's the best way to watch these movies. Sunset takes place nine years after the first film and has a similar story without feeling stale. The filmmaking is rather impressive as there are several shots lasting over seven minutes without a take. Considering the films are so dialogue-heavy, seven minutes is a long time for the actors to deliver-but they do. The dialogue is very natural and authentic, which is probably due in part to the fact that Hawke and Delpy helped to write the scripts and Before Sunset was essentially shot in real time. The films left an impression on me, but I am still trying to process what their impact exactly was. The story was unfamiliar yet relatable. It dealt with the idea that we often squander opportunities, especially those relating to love. The movie felt very raw and real, the acting was incredible, and the European backdrop made me long to travel. I have intentionally not given that much of the story away because I feel like I would be stealing from its beauty. It's not a happy story, but it's not sad either. It's about longing and restlessness with a dash of hope. See them.
They are working on the third (and final) movie as you read this. Check out an article here.