Before Sunset

Year: 2004
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Noticing the long, single-take shots as Jesse and Celine walk through Paris, the complete absence of a backing soundtrack and the spare, true-to-life dialogue, I realised that what Linklater was doing was the Dogme style of filmmaking that Lars von Trier made so high profile last year with Dogville without even realising it.

What's more, he did a better job of it that the black turtleneck latte drinkers realise. Von trier's style was too sparse not to notice. Yes, you're left with nothing but the performances because of the absence of sets and props, but the novelty of it overshadows the worth of the movie.

Watching Jesse and Celina catch up and talk for the hour or so they do is the truer rendition of the no-frills style Dogme is supposed to encapture. You forget there's a camera there, you forget that a script's been written.

As Ethan Hawke says in character and as Linklater has said to the press, most of our lives aren't about car chases and shooting bad guys, so they're not the sort of movies he wants to make. Most of life, he says, is about talking, so that's what he films (the best example of which was Waking Life).

And apart from strongly narrative, more commercial movies like School of Rock, Linklater is best known for the cinematic equivalent of sitting around late at night with friend talking about the nature of existence.

It's ten years since Jesse and Celine spent a passionate night together in Vienna, one that has shaped both their lives more than they realise until they see each other again.

Now a successful author who's bestselling book is slightly more than autobiographical, telling the story of true love in one night, Jesse is in Paris at a book signing when Celina shows up.

Small talk about their lives over coffee turns more serious as they get more comfortable talking about their relationships and the impact their night together had on their outlook. You can feel the urgency pressing as Jesse is due to fly home to New York within a few hours, when they start to spill darker secrets about the emptiness of their lives and current relationships, emptiness they both fear might be because they were always pining for each other.

As Before Sunrise did Sunset finishes on a single note with no climax or resolution, as if - to Linklater - nothing is ever true finished or resolved, but that we just keep getting older and continue experiencing life.

Funny, poignant, realistic and warm, it's Linklater doing what he does best.

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