Dog Day Afternoon is one of the coolest, rawest films I’ve ever seen. In it, Al Pacino gives such a heartfelt performance as John Wojtowicz, the man who masterminded – and botched – the robbery of a Brooklyn bank in August 1972. Now there’s a documentary about the life of Wojtowicz called “The Dog” and it looks just as wild as you can imagine.
Before Midnight, the highly anticipated third film in Richard Linklater’s “Before” series, comes out this week. Will I go see it the night it comes out? Probably not. But that’s not because I don’t want to see it. Rather, it’s because I am at about the same stage of life as Celine and Jesse are now. As the New York Times put it, the fictional courtship between Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is “the screen romance that defined Generation X is now officially middle-aged.”
There are a number of reasons why Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) spoke to my generation when they came out. Of course, there is the dialogue — flirty, charged, smart, and playful, yet egalitarian — that sets the films apart from many other romantic films that came before it. Celine and Jesse’s on-screen relationship developed in a very idealized way, yet also seemed very true to life and natural.
I propose that my generation also feels connected to the “Before” films because they included the element of travel. In the first movie, Before Sunrise, the two met on a train in Vienna. In Before Sunset, Jesse and Celine reunite in Paris. In the newest film, which takes place nine years after the second, the couple are now together, parents of twin girls, and on vacation in Greece. Traveling abroad, either as an exchange student (like myself) or as a post-collegiate backpacker, became more commonplace and accessible beginning in the 1990s. So it’s no wonder that Generation X relates to Linklater’s trilogy.
In advance of Before Midnight, it’s worthwhile to revisit the best scenes from “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” to familiarize ourselves with the dynamic between Delpy and Hawke’s characters. This may also be helpful given that the pair, in conversation with film critic Dennis Lim, suggests that “Before Midnight” may be more “real” than romantic.
Lim: The prior films are about the first two times Jesse and Celine meet. This one is very different: They’ve now been through a lot.
Hawke: The first two films are so much about romantic projection. The third had to be the opposite of that. We couldn’t play that trick again.
Delpy: But it couldn’t be totally taken away from that romantic idea — otherwise it’s depressing.
By the way, Richard Linklater will be doing an AMA on Reddit at 1pm tomorrow, May 22. I’ll update this post with the interesting bits later. Now, for the clips:
I just love the foreshadowing that the above scene from “Before Sunrise” has on the new film. Another fantastic scene from the first movie, which some fans have dubbed the “best conversation ever” [video on Youtube]. Below, a scene from “Before Sunset.”
The editorial director of focusfeatures.com, distributor of the new George Clooney film The American, asked me to come up with a list of my five favorite Italy films. The result was Five in Focus: American Expat Bloggers on Italian Movies. I was one of six bloggers that was granted this fun opportunity to both relate my favorite films set in Italy and get a link back to my site Italofile.com.
Who would have ever thought that my labor of love, my little website on Italy travel, would get mentioned in the same breath as a George Clooney film? Well, I am thrilled and hope this is just the beginning of more fantastic opportunities and lucky breaks.
Saturday I went to see the 10:30AM showing of Fahrenheit 9/11, and I cried and cried throughout the entire two hours. I don’t know if that’s what Michael Moore was going for when he made the movie, but it really hit me like a ton of bricks, starting with the scene when you hear – not see – the planes crashing into the towers until the scene when Lila Lipscomb visits the White House.
A note to the heartless woman who thought the latter scene was staged: that poor Middle Eastern lady has lived under that yellow tent in front of White House for years. I’ll go down and snap a pic of it some time this week. That scene really angered me.
Anyhow, the film is definitely worth seeing.