Before Sunrise

Director: Richard Linklater
Screenwriters: Kim Krizan, Richard Linklater

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


Rick Linklater has already gained an extraordinary reputation as one of the most significant cinematic voices of his generation. Slacker and Dazed and Confused were both original and provocative films, as well as enormously well realized and directed. But neither one is any real preparation for the change in focus, indeed the romantic sensibility, that he displays in his newest opus, Before Sunrise.

Ethan Hawke stars as Jesse, an American student traveling by train through Europe who meets a young French woman, Julie Delpy, on the day before he is to catch a plane back to the United States. Small talk becomes flirtation, and quite suddenly, that rarest of occasions, a true meeting of heart and soul, of mind and spirit begins to flower. Emboldened and a bit impulsively, Jesse asks if she’ll spend the rest of the day before he departs with him, and she equally impulsively agrees.

So begins a remarkably fulfilling depiction of two people exploring and revealing themselves to each other. In moments ranging from the discursive to the conversational, the couple wanders Vienna, being serious and playing in a series of charming and insightful tête à têtes which comment on everything from America to literature, family to love, and in turn throughly engage the audience. Romantic yet provocative, and wonderfully enacted by two performers who are immensely appealing, Before Sunrise is a film which is full of life, love, perceptiveness, and memories. Its images and incidents will certainly resonate for anyone who has ever fallen for another person and talked through the night.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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