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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday October 3, 2019 


SYNOPSIS: Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet on a train travelling from Budapest to Vienna. They begin a conversation, which continues in Vienna, where they spend the evening together... perhaps their only one.

Review by Louise Keller:
Something magical happens in Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise. The concept is simple, yet so effective. Two strangers meet on a train. They start talking and alight in Vienna to continue to conversation. It's about youth, the promise of love and the hopes of tomorrow - all encapsulated in a charming encounter between Ethan Hawke's Jesse and Julie Delpy's Celine. Shot in real time, we become part of Jesse and Celine's conversation as they share thoughts, ideas, feelings, intimacies and dreams. It is as though we are invisible by-standers in this endearing and involving interlude that is absolutely delightful.

When Jesse and Celine meet on the train, there is no agenda. They just begin to talk to each other - about things that are trivial and not so trivial. Celine reveals her fear of flying and Jesse recounts his first experience with death. They have no special plans when they leave the train station in Vienna and start wandering through the city. The conversation is light and it flows.

Happy relationships, first sexual encounters, parents, shrinks and religion are some of the topics discussed, and they share a first kiss before sunset by the Ferris wheel. They meet a palm reader; a man by the Danube writes a poem; they play pinball and watch a belly dancer. The scene in which they make an imaginary phone call to a friend and describe each other is utterly charming, as is the street scene when they take mental pictures of each other for eternity. Then there is the unforgettable night under the full moon when the grass is their bed and promises are made. Is there a future for them or is their relationship destined to only be just one night? We want it to be more.

Linklater has created a miraculous and intimate film filled with optimism. The chemistry between Hawke and Delpy sizzles from the outset and it is credit to them both that we care about Jesse and Celine as they draw us into the newly formed joint world they create. It becomes clear that this encounter Before Sunrise is one that neither will forget - nor will we.

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(US, Austria, Switzerland, 1995)

CAST: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

PRODUCER: Anne Walker-McBay

DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater

SCRIPT: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan


EDITOR: Sandra Adair

MUSIC: Fred Frith

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Florian Reichmann

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes




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