Directed by Richard Linklater
Before Sunrise is a near real-time conversation between Jesse and Celine, who meet on a train and then disembark in Vienna to spend the evening on a peripatetic exploration of the city and each other’s perspectives on time, death, and reincarnation. The film is structured by an unlikely duality, starring Ethan Hawke as an American cynic, and Julie Delpy as a French romantic. Using the daily cycle of the sun as a metaphor, Before Sunrise initiated a story that would be completed in director Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset (2004). Together, the two films form a temporal loop that is separated by nearly a decade.
Self-taught writer and director Richard Linklater was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Typically setting each of his movies during one 24-hour period, Linklater’s work explored what he has dubbed “the youth rebellion continuum,” focusing on generational rites and mores, while definitively capturing the 20-something culture of his era. Born in Houston, Texas, Linklater suspended his educational career at Sam Houston State University in 1982 to work on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He subsequently relocated to Austin, Texas, where he founded a film society and began work on his debut film, 1988’s It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books. Three years later he released Slacker (1991), an insightful look at youth culture that earned him critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. The film became the subject of considerable mainstream media attention, with the term “slacker” becoming a catchall tag to identity to America’s disaffected youth culture.