January 3 – 9

Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy is one of the cornerstones of contemporary American cinema: the story of a single couple told through the lens of three life-changing days, each nine years apart; a record of time’s gradual effect on the faces and bodies of two remarkable actors; a narrative of love gained, lost, and painfully re-found that paralleled the ups and downs of an entire generation; a challenging reflection on who we are, what we value, and who we love, and how that endures, or fails to endure, over time.

Before Sunrise starts with a chance traincar meeting between a cocky young American (Ethan Hawke) and a brilliant young Parisian (Julie Delpy). What begins as a flirtation becomes a one-night adventure, then a romance, then something like love. The next two films revisit Jesse and Celine in Paris and Greece, respectively, telling the story of the couple’s shared life in pivotal, snapshot-like flashes. Each installment is packed with unforgettable moments: an exchange of glances inside a cramped record booth, an impromptu morning-after Auden recitation, a seduction by way of Nina Simone, a dinner-party roundtable on the subject of love, a take-no-prisoners hotel-room squabble. Taken as a whole, Linklater’s epic-in-miniature is a rare work that seems to age with its viewers, revealing new truths, comforts and warnings when watched at successive stages of life.

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