Before Sunrise (Remastered) (1995)

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Released 6-Jan-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Before Sunset
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 96:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (40:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Linklater
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Ethan Hawke
Julie Delpy
Case ?
RPI Box Music Fred Frith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Before Sunrise was released to DVD as a budget title in late 2003. It could be picked up for less than $15 and at that price was a real bargain. When released, the sequel, Before Sunset, had only just started filming. Now, to coincide with the DVD release of the long-awaited follow-up, this 1995 gem has been re-released as part of a double pack featuring both films.

    As I said in my earlier review, I've got a bit of a personal attachment to this film. Most of what follows is a direct copy of the earlier review, since the plot and my appreciation of this has not changed in nine years.

    I first saw Before Sunrise back in 1995 on VHS video, when a former girlfriend and I were going through a bit of a tough time in our relationship. She decided a nice romantic film might just be the tonic to patch things up and so headed off to the video library and came back with this film. Of course, with a suitably male attitude, I took one look at the cover jacket and thought 'oh no, it's a chick flick'. I was wrong of course, and I've since grown to feel that this is possibly one of the most underrated films of the 1990s. Even though it failed to help in my personal relationship at the time, and watching it again for review purposes brought back some vivid and painful memories, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely.

    Sensitively directed by Richard Linklater (who was responsible for 1993's Dazed and Confused), it is essentially the tale of two people who meet as strangers and part as incredibly close friends only a few hours later - possibly to never meet again. But it offers so much more on closer inspection than that simple synopsis.

    Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meet on a train travelling between Vienna and Budapest. Both are in their early twenties and appear to be looking for something in their lives. Celine is French and heading back to Paris after visiting her grandmother. Jesse is an American and heading to Vienna to catch a cheap flight home to the States. The two meet quite by accident on the train, but soon strike up a conversation and instantly 'click'. They talk for some time before Jesse realises he must leave Celine when the train arrives in Vienna so he can catch his flight home. But he comes up with the crazy idea of asking her to join him when in Vienna, and just hang out in the city for the night. With his flight not scheduled to leave until the next morning, he wasn't planning on going to a hotel, but rather just wander the streets and take in the sights of the Austrian capital.

    Celine agrees and together they leave the train and explore the streets, meeting locals, buskers, beggars, and even a fortune teller, all in between telling their life story to each other and pondering all sorts of worldly and ethical questions about love, life, and death. The two effectively cram more living into the period between sunset and before sunrise than many people would hope to do in a year. As the time approaches when Jesse must leave for his flight, the two begin to realise that this could be a life defining moment, and the turmoil is clearly evident as both try to decide whether they should advance this relationship or leave it at this one-off meeting.

    When looking at the credits and realising that the character listed third is 'wife on train', you just know this whole film is going to be made or broken by the two lead actors. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke carry the roles off to perfection. Watch the unbridled excitement in their first kiss or glances at each other they steal when huddled in a record store listening booth and the reaction as they catch each other doing it. This is priceless filmmaking and a real joy to watch.

    Now packaged with its highly anticipated sequel, this film cannot come more highly recommended to those who have yet to be captivated by its magic.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Apart from some additional subtitles this would appear to be the exact same transfer used for the earlier release, the only other difference being that it is now placed on a dual layered disc instead of a single layered one.

       I was surprised by the quality of the earlier transfer, given the budget price, and this transfer is again very pleasing. This is a mostly clean, artefact free and all round pleasing transfer. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced. This is slightly different to the theatrical release which was framed at 1.85:1.

    While far superior to any videotape copy, it is only an average video transfer in terms of sharpness given the level of detail we have come to expect in recent releases. Thankfully I noticed no edge enhancement, which given the subject matter and the lighting did surprise me a little - I really was expecting to see plenty of it. Probably the poorest element of the transfer is the level of shadow detail. Remember, much of this film takes place in the dimly lit streets, bars, and cafes of night-time Vienna, so it's pretty important that we can see what is occurring. Some of the later scenes (particularly where Celine and Jesse are in the park drinking their red wine) are extremely dim and if you are watching this in a bright room you may struggle to see what is going on. Thankfully there is only minimal grain, which again is a real surprise and what is present does not become at all distracting. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are fairly muted and dull, though you could say they were adequate for the task. Again the fact this occurs mostly at night does not help with the vibrancy.

    There are no apparent compression problems. There are virtually no instances of film-to-video artefacts such as aliasing. Film artefacts are present pretty much throughout the film, mostly of the small positive and negative spot or nick variety, though I did spot a rather large emulsion-like splotch at 39:32. Most of the spots are not overly annoying.

    There are several subtitles available (the original disc only had two English streams). They are as accurate as can be expected, with only a few words missed every now and then.

    Unlike the original release, which was on a single layered disc, this remastered version is on a dual layered RSDL formatted disc. The layer change occurs at 40:14.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The original disc only featured an English soundtrack. The remastered disc contains three soundtracks. All are Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtracks with the surround flag present in the bitstream. Languages are English, French, and Italian.

    Considering there are only two main characters in this film, and all they pretty much do is talk for virtually the entire duration, there is not a whole heap of dynamic range and only a little front soundstage channel separation. All dialogue is anchored well and truly in the centre.

    The musical score is credited to Fred Frith and is melodic and romantic. There are also plenty of traditional classical pieces scattered throughout the film, which again capture the magic of ancient Vienna.

    There is a little surround channel use. During the opening credit sequence on the train into Vienna there is consistent use for various train and background noises. There is really not a whole lot for the subwoofer to do.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    The original release was missing the trailer, so it is nice to see it included here. Runs for 1.37 and is every bit as simple and engaging as the film.

Trailer - Before Sunset

    A 2:22 trailer for the sequel, Before Sunset. Includes some flashback to the original film. It should not be watched until you have seen the original.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are available in Region 1, but I can't find any reference to them being sold as a double disc set. As a result this Region 4 package is probably the one to get.

Summary

    Films like Before Sunrise are few and far between. It offers little in the way of flashy sets or locations, no special effects, no rousing soundtrack, and no high calibre Hollywood stars. What then does this film have going for it? The answer is plenty. It offers an insight into the human heart, with intelligent and thought-provoking dialogue delivered by two actors who most certainly have connected with the material and the meaning of what the director was trying to achieve. The tale of two strangers meeting, instantly connecting, and sharing not just a day with each other, but sharing themselves with each other offers something so infinitely superior to your stock standard love story it is amazing this style of film isn't done more often.

    Before Sunrise is a rare film. Watch it with someone close to you and I'm sure you'll appreciate it even more.

    The video transfer is more than acceptable for such a budget title. Aside from a few film artefacts and a little problem with shadow detail it is a mostly pleasing transfer.

    The audio is functional for what is one of the most dialogue-heavy films I have seen for some time. There is really no call for any surround activity or heaps of low-end rumble.

    The extras are limited to two trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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