Before Midnight

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Sabin » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:51 pm

Remember that line at the end of Before Sunset where Jesse and Celine lament the passing of Nina Simone by saying “Yeah, I can’t believe she’s gone…” That’s how I feel about Before Midnight. I can’t believe we’ve only had this film for a year. It already feels somewhat timeless.

I kind of knew this would happen. I was so wrapped up in the drama of Before Sunset, so wrapped up in wondering what it was I was watching, that I couldn’t quite relax and enjoy it. Something about these two makes me obsessive-compulsive that everything is just right. The only complaint I have about Before Midnight is that the Greek dinner truly could just be cut by a few minutes. I don’t care if it’s midsentence. It would actually work better and support some of Celine’s emotions in the penultimate scene. Also, I'm not sure it quite, quite, quiiiiite lands for me in the final minute or two but it comes so very close. The spirit of it is certainly there.

I had a pretty different reaction to it this time. My parents saw it this spring and didn't care for it, they said it was just watching two people fight for two hours, which I dismissed at the time as ultimately this just not being their kind of film. What I didn't know at the time was at 63 and 61, they were separated for the first time in their marriage, living apart. This has come to be the development that has defined my year. Their banter has turned to bicker, but it is no less erotic, passionate, and romantic. In fact, it might be more so. To watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, is to wonder what happens next. You feel that in Before Midnight, but there is also "What happens now", the question that means everything.
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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Johnny Guitar » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:37 am

Greg wrote:
Johnny Guitar wrote:I thought this one was a masterpiece, or pretty close.


How many other films in the last few years was this the case for you? It does not strike me that there were all that many.


Going back to say 2009 ... I'd probably single out anders, Molussien (Nicolas Rey), The Tree of Life, Qu'il reposant en revolte (des figures de guerre) (Sylvain George), Butterflies Have No Memories (Lav Diaz), Film Socialism, maybe also La Bocca del Lupo (Pietro Marcello), Nostalgia for the Light (Patricio Guzman), Certified Copy, and Johnnie To's Life Without Principle. There are a few more I'd consider, too, or might just be overlooking. Still plenty that I just haven't seen yet.

(BTW now that I look back, 2008 was a great year for films that I don't think got released in the States until 2009 or so - 35 Shots of Rum, Two Lovers, Tokyo Sonata, Lisandro Alonso's Liverpool. All incredible films.)

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Greg » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:29 pm

Johnny Guitar wrote:I thought this one was a masterpiece, or pretty close.


How many other films in the last few years was this the case for you? It does not strike me that there were all that many.
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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Johnny Guitar » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:23 pm

Yeah Sabin, I loved Before Sunset very much and I think both of these two movies continued the story in ways that were comfortable, at times tinged with nostalgia, but also - importantly - were also full of surprises and disappointments and little awkward turns. Having only seen the movie once, and been blown away (including by the shock of recognition: my wife and I laughed and cringed all through the fight sequence), what I can muster at this point are kind of broad thematic generalities and little touches. I can't focus much more than that, not without more time & viewings.

I love how Hawke & Delpy have aged, how we might compare their bodies to 9 and 18 years ago. (At the risk of incurring the wrath of Damien's spirit, I don't think Hawke is lookin' too hot these days.) The sense of disappointment, of a flame that's burned into little stubborn embers, is crucial here because the feeling of an undeniable and irresistible chemistry is what animated the first two films. But Before Midnight is about what happens after the happily ever after. That particular youthful spark of attraction is never going to outweigh all the mess of Life. But what the film does brilliantly is re-animate this spark through the tool of dialogue - the thing which first drew Jesse and Celine together. And I think that the middle scenes of the movie are important because they show this act of dialogue dispersed: we see Jesse and Celine interacting with other people (on their own or together in a bigger group) far more than in the previous two films. Constant conversation remains, but the mode is different. And so when this couple is semi-forced onto their romantic evening together, their conversation is no longer romantic per se. It's lived through too much stress, too many uncertainties; it's gotten used to the thing that used to be mere backburner fantasy for either one of them.

So what I find very moving is that the ambulatory conversations between Jesse and Celine (or about themselves as they speak to other characters) are motivated less about a mutual sense of discovery, enchantment, and adventure ... and are predicated more on knowing each other too well. Most of the only surprises left are dark or disappointing ones. In Before Sunset, I recall a moment during a cab ride where Jesse was looking out the window and Celine reached out to touch him but drew back her hand right away as he turned to her again. (Perhaps I've switched who did what here...) The romance came easy then, but now similar mismatches between the two are instead constant signs of how the romance isn't running smoothly. The interruptions aren't "what if they connected, and could be happy?" but instead, "why can't they just keep sustaining the illusion of a romantic evening together, damn it?"

[Side note: I still believe that one could append the titles of Bunuel films to each of the movies in this trilogy. For Before Sunrise, Cela s'appelle l'aurore. For Before Sunset, The River and Death. For Before Midnight ... well, it could truthfully be any one of Bunuel's last three, but I suspect That Obscure Object of Desire is best.]

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Eric » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:58 am

I think the trilogy is more a masterpiece than even its individual parts. Only hiccup for me was the slightly too on-the-nose recalling of Voyage to Italy, but that's an indulgence this magnificent movie fully earns.

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Sabin » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:21 pm

I'd love to hear as many of your thoughts as you can muster, Zach. Before Midnight is pretty much the only thing out there that warrants conversation and if I'm not mistaken you were quite a fan of Before Sunset.
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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Johnny Guitar » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:16 pm

I thought this one was a masterpiece, or pretty close. Really powerful and beautiful, and its dialogic, seasoned approach to the mythology of "romance" was a fantastic culmination to the romantic magic of the first two movies.

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Cinemanolis » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:16 pm

Okri wrote:I loved, loved, loved the Greek lunch scene - sorta like Certified Copy in one scene.


I also loved the lunch scene. It is also very interesting to note that most of them are in fact directors and not actors.

Yannis Papadopoulos is a very young new greek actor. This was his second film. For his first film, the greek "To Agori troei to fagito tou pouliou" (Boy Eating the Bird's Food", he won the acting prizes in Karlovy Vary and Thessalonik Film Festivals.

Ariane Labed is another up and coming greek actress won the Venice Film Festival award for Attenberg and also starred in "Alps". She is Giorgos Lanthimos' (Dogtooth, Alps) girlfriend.

Walter Lassally is the Oscar winning cinematographer of "Zorba the Greek". He was also the cinematographer in "Tom Jones", "Heat and Dust", "The Bostonians", "Electra", "A Taste of Honey", "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner". For the last decade he lives in a village on the greek island of Crete and he keeps his Oscar in the local taverna (restaurant) where tourists can take photos with it. He has retired since 2001.

Xenia Kalogeropoulou is a very respected greek actress who was a very popular for her films in the 60s and early 70s. This is her first film since 1973! She has dedicated herself to the theatre and particularly to the children's theatre as a writer/director and performer.

Athina Rachel Tsangari is the greek director of "Attenberg" which has received many awards in various festivals. She was also the producer in "Dogtooth" and "Alps". She is good friends with Richard Linklater from their university years.

Panos Koronis is a director of TV commercials. This was his first appearance as an actor in a film.

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Okri » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:51 pm

I loved, loved, loved the Greek lunch scene - sorta like Certified Copy in one scene.

I do agree with your comment re: "One moment" but I sorta feel that comes from the fact that's it's the middle passage movie and less about romantic magic as romantic reality.

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Cinemanolis » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:34 am

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/201 ... haupt.html

The Real Couple Behind Before Sunrise
By Forrest Wickman
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2013, at 9:02 AM

If you stick around through the closing credits of Before Midnight, the latest film in the trilogy that also includes Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, you’ll see that the movie is dedicated to someone whose name even the most die-hard fans have never heard before: Amy Lehrhaupt. Almost 25 years ago, Lehrhaupt met a young man named Richard Linklater and spent a night with him that he never forgot. Their encounter inspired Linklater to conceive and direct Before Sunrise, the first film in the series. She never saw it, though; unbeknownst to Linklater, by the time that movie came out, Lehrhaupt was dead.

Linklater never mentioned Lehrhaupt by name in the press before promoting Before Midnight—Ethan Hawke has said that the director was uncomfortable mentioning her until “extremely recently”—but he has long made brief references to their encounter. From a number of interviews he’s done over the years, we can now piece together the complete story of how Lehrhaupt helped inspire the series.

Linklater met Lehrhaupt in fall 1989, when he was visiting his sister in Philadelphia. He was 29 and had just finished shooting Slacker, and was staying there for one night while passing through on the way home from New York. Lehrhaupt was several years younger, about 20. They met in a toy shop, and ended up spending the whole night together, “from midnight until six in the morning,” “walking around, flirting, doing things you would never do now.” As in Before Sunrise, most of what they did was talk, “about art, science, film, the gamut.” Did they kiss? Yes. Did they have sex? The Times went so far as to ask Linklater in a recent interview, but he said he wants to “leave a little mystery.”

Even in the midst of that romantic night, the filmmaker in Linklater couldn’t help but consider its cinematic possibilities. In a 2004 interview with the New York Times, he remembered “walking around [thinking], ‘If I could just capture this feeling I’m having right now,’ instead of actually having that feeling.” On a recent episode of the podcast The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith, he recalled mentioning the movie idea to Lehrhaupt that night:

Even as that experience was going on … I was like, “I’m gonna make a film about this.” And she was like, “What ‘this’? What’re you talking about?” And I was like, “Just this. This feeling. This thing that’s going on between us.”

But as the night came to an end, the paths of Linklater and Lehrhaupt began to diverge from the fictional storyline of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy). In fact, on The Q&A, Linklater revealed that the ending of Before Sunrise was in part a response to what happened with him and Lehrhaupt. Unlike Jesse and Céline, who agree to reconvene in six months, the real-life young lovers exchanged numbers and tried to keep in touch while they were away. They called each other a few times, but it was “that long distance thing” that did them in. “It sort of did the fizzle,” he says, “So in the first movie that was a thing, the idea that they would intellectually kind of get beyond that and say ‘Well, we’re on different continents. What are the odds that it’s gonna work. Let’s just commit to this night.’ ”

Linklater soon became involved with another woman, who “swept into [his] life ... and took over for about a year or so,” and he and Lehrhaupt never talked again. He did think that maybe “she would show up at a Before Sunrise screening or something.” In Before Sunset, Céline shows up at a reading of Jesse’s book This Time, which is based on their night together. “It would be so weird,” he said, in 2004. But she never did.

Linklater didn’t know then that Lehrhaupt had died in a motorcycle accident on May 9, 1994, before she reached her 25th birthday. Before Sunrise started filming a few weeks later. Linklater only learned of her death three years ago, when a friend of Lehrhaupt’s, who knew about the encounter, put it together and sent him a letter. “It was very sad,” Linklater told the Times. Ethan Hawke was similarly devastated when he heard it, though he reminded Linklater that if he hadn’t met her, then he never would have made these movies or met some of the people who worked on them with him. “Who knows how we reverberate through each other’s lives,” Linklater reflected in another interview, “But she’s an inspiration on this.”

In this way, Linklater did find another way to make that feeling, that “thing in the air” they once had between them, last: He turned it into cinema.

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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Sabin » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:40 am

(In the next paragraph I say the word SPOILERS!!! It is meant entirely in jest. That being said, really if you want to see this film, you shouldn't read anything about it. That doesn't mean there is anything to give away but, y'know, just don't.)

I think one of the keys to appreciating Before Midnight is to approach it like a middle passage and not a climax. This doesn't really give anything away. It couldn't. Saying that is basically admitting that SPOILERS!!! one or both of them does not get shot in the head. More so, it feels like a middle passage. The prior two films felt defined by their inherent narrative limitations. Before Midnight does not. And unlike Sunrise and Sunset, which are about the amazingness of finding new love and finding it again, Midnight is a marriage film and most marriage films are tributes to the struggle. They are not married, but it sure feels like they are.

The one question I was confident they would address is the one that ultimately they do not: would these two have stayed together had they not parted ways in 1995? The question alone is huge enough to support a film. Instead, Before Midnight like is a rival planet to that idea, large with every other conceivable question ranging from basic continuity (yup, we know exactly what has happened over the last nine years) to everything else in life one must deal with when reaching a certain age with another person. And because it's Jesse and Celine talking about it, it's very entertaining. This is by far the funniest entry in the series. The one thing we haven't really seen until Midnight is Jesse and Celine fuck and fight. They almost do one and they sure do another, and when they do...it's occasionally very funny. Because off-hand I cannot think of two characters in film who have as insular a world to themselves as Jesse and Celine, they know exactly how to go after each other, and his psuedo-intellectualism and her neuroticism make for some very funny moments. This epic scene is cued perfectly to the way that aggressions rise and fall in arguments, so it never feels for the cheap seats. If the film is aligned to one person, it's Jesse. If Sunset struck the perfect balance (at times pivoting more towards glorious Julie Delpy) and Sunrise (while certainly an androcentric fantasy) was more about the scenario, Midnight feels more like Jesse's film because so much of Ethan Hawke's personal baggage feels at the forefront. His voice has changed in the past few years. There's a smoker's canyon it has to carry over that sounds not unlike William Hurt in parts. And I couldn't stop noticing the resemblance between Delpy and a young Hilary Clinton.

I'm still grappling with how much I love Before Midnight. It's easy to say it's the "knowingest" of all of them. How could it not be with its larger questions? Before Sunset, I think, might be slightly more perceptive in terms of their behavior and attitude. Two issues I had with the film: there are probably five minutes that could be cut at the Greek dinner table. Everybody has something beautiful and profound to say and I can see why everyone fell in love with it in the editing room, but very little of it has any impact on what happens later in the film and there is a monotony to it after a bit. It got to the point where at every cut I was yearning for them to jump to the next scene. And finally while Before Midnight is a lovely film, it doesn't capture the One Moment quality that makes Sunrise & Sunset so amazing. Despite Celine's early mental note that this was the day it ended, it never quite felt that way to me in the final stretch (NOTE: what I just said does not indicate what will happen one way or the other, I'm just saying it doesn't feel that way). That may just not be its tempo but I would have preferred it. This may sound like I'm holding Before Midnight to a model it doesn't aspire to because Richard Linklater certainly films it differently (with a Dan Harmon-less Community, new Arrested Development, and Before Midnight, this is the year of different approaches to beloved material), but it clearly does.

On a first viewing, I don't think I hold Before Midnight as dearly as Sunrise & Sunset, but I'm also reasonably sure that I didn't love the ending of Before Sunset the first time I saw it and wow, did I miss the boat on that one.
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Re: Before Midnight

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:01 am

From The Hollywood Reporter

Delpy, Hawke and Linklater reunite for a third remarkable installment of the Before... series.

PARK CITY -- Faces crease, bodies swell, and life accumulates such a mountain of crummy responsibilities it seems there's no space left for living. But the work Richard Linklater and company started in 1995's Before Sunrise retains a clarity of spirit undimmed by 18 years. In Before Midnight, its two lovers not only have longings and worries we identify with; they fight as we do, too. They are as convincing in middle age as they were as passionate youths sharing a one-night encounter. Though this stage is harder to watch, audiences who have aged along with Celine and Jesse will treasure this new episode.

Yes, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) missed his plane at the end of 2004's Before Sunset. He wound up leaving his wife, pairing up with (but not marrying) Celine (Julie Delpy), and having twin girls. We meet the family at the end of a Greek vacation, with Jesse awkwardly packing son Henry onto a plane to Chicago, where he lives year-round with Jesse's ex-wife. The lovers have moved from infatuation to weary parenthood in between movies, and as Linklater observes their long ride from the airport back to their vacation house, full of low-level bickering about jobs and parenting, one worries the characters have forgotten how to talk about their inner lives.

Not so. Meeting up with their hosts and Greek friends for a final, leisurely dinner, they get philosophical about human connection in the digital age, about romantic commitment and ideals that might never have worked for anybody. Then they set off, just the two of them, through ruins and cobblestone alleys. Their friends have rented them a nearby hotel room and offered to watch the twins, and their trip to this romantic night together affords us the kind of extended walk-and-talk pleasure that was so absorbing in the first two films.

Then comes the hotel, the start of some "I still think you're hot" sex...and a ringing cell phone. The fight that ensues is agonizing, with new scabs pulled off every time the anger seems about to subside. As in Before Sunset, Hawke and Delpy wrote the script with Linklater, and this painful centerpiece feels like the distillation of three lives' worth of real-world meltdowns. It's also often very funny.

If the first film ended with us wondering if the two would actually keep their "we'll meet in six months" date, and the second wondered if Jesse would give in to temptation, Before Midnight offers the possibility that the couple's odds-defying relationship will end in a one-day conflagration of pent-up resentment and parental guilt. The previous films' manufactured deadlines -- a train departure, a trip to the airport -- are no longer with us; the pair are now together until they decide not to be. Turns out, that's as dramatic as a ticking clock.

Production company: Faliro House, Venture Forth, Castle Rock Entertainment
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Walter Lassally, Ariane Labed, Yannis Papadopoulos, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Panos Koronis
Director: Richard Linklater
Screenwriters: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Producers: Richard Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulous, Sara Woodhatch
Executive producers: Jacob Pechenik, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, John Sloss
Director of photography: Christos Voudouris
Music: Graham Reynolds
Editor: Sandra Adair
Sales: John Sloss
No rating, 108 minutes
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Before Midnight

Postby Sabin » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:46 am

No reviews up yet but word is that we've got another contender for Best Trilogy Ever.
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