Overall | Before Sunrise (Remastered) (1995) | Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset (Double Pack) (1995)

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset (Double Pack) (1995)

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Released 6-Jan-2005

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Overall Package

The availability of both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset as a double pack makes perfect sense, as each film more than complements each other. With the release of the sequel, these are films that work so well together they cannot simply be seen apart.

While I have not seen the final retail packaging, I understand the films will be available as part of a two disc set, with one film on each disc. Details of case type will be forthcoming when I can confirm the nature of the packaging.

The lack of comprehensive extras is disappointing, given that the sequel was made in 2004, and the director has had plenty of time to think about including something more noteworthy in the bonus section. A commentary at the very least from himself and the cast would have been expected as a bare minimum.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Nathan L

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Overall | Before Sunrise (Remastered) (1995) | Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunrise (Remastered) (1995)

Before Sunrise (Remastered) (1995)

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Released 6-Jan-2005

Cover Art

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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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Before Sunrise (Remastered) (1995) | Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset (2004)

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Released 6-Jan-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On The Set Of Before Sunset
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 76:59
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Richard Linklater
Studio
Distributor
Warner Independent
Warner Home Video
Starring Ethan Hawke
Julie Delpy
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Julie Delpy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
German
Hebrew
Arabic
English for the Hearing Impaired
German 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

Sequels to films are usually made for one reason - money, or more correctly the ability to make more money. Usually the original film has to be a runaway success for the producers to get the green light to spend up big and make a sequel. If a film tanks at the box office, you don't expect to see a sequel. When a sequel is given the go-ahead it is rarely as good as the original and is quickly forgotten.

As a result there are very few sequels that are made purely for artistic or creative reasons and because of the dedication to the story by the director and cast. Before Sunset is one such film and comes an amazing nine years after the events of Before Sunrise.

In 1995, director Richard Linklater made a simple film about a young couple who meet on a train bound for Vienna and instantly strike up a friendship. Their meeting lasts just one night, but would have an impact on their lives far greater than either could have imagined. Before Sunrise starred Ethan Hawke as the American Jesse and Julie Delpy as the young French woman Celine. They wander the streets of Vienna for several hours before Jesse had to catch a flight back to America. As the night slowly progresses, it becomes obvious that Jesse and Celine share a bond far deeper than your normal one-night-stand style of encounter. They both feel it, but are unwilling to commit to anything concrete. As they part they agree to meet again - at the same spot in exactly six months to see if their feelings are the same. This is where the film ends.

It is now nine years later. That planned rendezvous never occurs and both have moved on with their lives. As this film opens, Jesse is in Paris as part of a book tour promoting his new novel, called This Time. It is a fictionalized account of that night he spent with Celine in Vienna. It has been a huge success in the States and he is now promoting it in Europe. On the last stop of his whirlwind tour, at a small bookstore in Paris, and with only hours before he is to step on a plane and head home, he again encounters Celine, who suddenly appears at the book store. She knew he would be there having seen an advertisement for his appearance a few months before.

The film follows the couple for the next hour and unfolds in real time. The couple decide to spend the last hour of Jesse's time in Paris together, and head for a small caf to catch up. The initial stages of their meeting are filled with those awkward moments of silly questions and long pauses as they don't really know what to say to each other. First things discussed include what they are doing now and did they head to Vienna on that night in December to meet again. As they slowly get more comfortable with each other they open up a whole lot more, even though some of the bigger topics are not yet about to be breached (their marriages, their happiness, and how they really felt about each other after that night). Time slowly slips away, until it becomes obvious that the couple are using every excuse possible to hold off the inevitable permanent goodbye. They reach a point where many secrets and regrets are openly discussed and it is obvious that both still hold extreme affection for each other, despite many changes in their lives. They are both far more cynical and world-weary than when they first met, and both bear the scars of less than perfect relationships in the past. This chance encounter has somehow rekindled some spirit in each of them, and it is obvious that neither want it to end.

Long takes and lots of dialogue from the two characters. That is about all this film consists of. If you hated the first film, don't even bother with this one - it is more of the same. If you loved the first, then this offering is obviously going to please you greatly. It is like visiting old friends and seeing them reconnect after many years apart. It is about as real a film as one can be without it being a documentary. Apparently both Hawke and Delpy played a major role in the writing of the script and it certainly shows as their characters are so believable with an almost off-the-cuff improvised feel to their acting.

The ending will leave an odd jarring sensation with many viewers, but it does lead to the obvious conclusion that this is not the last time we will see these characters again. Hopefully it won't be another nine years before the director allows us to go along for this lovely romantic journey.

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Transfer Quality

Video

While this film was obviously made with quite a small budget ($10 million, which is quite small by today's blockbuster standards), it still looks quite lovely and captures the beautiful colours of a late afternoon in Paris.

In the featurette included on the disc, the director mentions some of the challenges faced with filming a story that takes place in a little over an hour and virtually in real time. The colours needed to be the same throughout and capture that late afternoon consistently. This meant filming in a small window in the afternoon over 15 days. All up they have done a pretty good job and nothing looks out of place.

The video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is also 16x9 enhanced. This is slightly modified from the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

Overall sharpness is reasonable, with enough finely detailed images and only the barest glimpse of edge enhancement on a couple of scenes. There are no real problems with shadow detail and grain is also kept to an absolute minimum. There is no low level noise.

Colours are vivid and vibrant with the late afternoon sun casting many lovely shades of orange and yellow around. There are no problems to report with bleeding or oversaturation.

Compression artefacts are absent. No aliasing or any other film-to-video artefacts are present. Film artefacts are also absent which is always pleasing.

There are several subtitles available. The English for the Hearing Impaired stream are excellent, almost to the point of being perfect.

This is a single sided, single layer DVD, thus no layer change is present as a result.



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

Audio

There are two audio soundtracks on this disc. Both are Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks encoded at the bitrate of 384Kb/s. Languages available are English and German.

Considering there are only two main characters in this film, and all they pretty much do is talk for virtually the entire 76 minutes, 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.

There is no score in this film. Amazing as that may sound, the music is limited to a couple of non-original pieces such as Variation 25 from Bach's Goldberg Variations and an original song played by Julie Delpy on her guitar in the closing scenes. Other than that it's all dialogue.

There is a little surround channel use. Street sounds as the couple walk around Paris are all that we hear. Likewise 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

The lack of a quality set of extras for a film that has obviously been made for reasons other than to make money is disappointing. There are so many aspects of the production, such as how a studio was convinced to part with the cash to make it, how the actors and director collaborated to write the script, the possibilities of another film to make a trilogy - all of these questions need answers. But we don't get them here, with a trailer and very brief featurette the limit of the bonus material.

Main Menu Audio

Featurette-Behind The Scenes

To be honest, this is a nice little making-of that only runs for 9:50, but contains enough dialogue with the director, producer and actors to understand what they were hoping to achieve and how they met some of the challenges faced by filming in only 15 days. Worth a look since it does not contain any of the gaudy promotional-style, self-congratulatory bulldust at all.

Theatrical Trailer

The trailer runs for 2:15 and includes a little flashback to the original. Does not give away any story which is about all you can ask.

R4 vs R1

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

The only difference between the Region 1 disc and this one is a few bonus trailers (apparently forced ones at that) on the Region 1 and the exclusion of the German soundtrack the Region 4 disc contains. These differences are minor enough to declare it a draw.

Summary

Before Sunset is a delightful sequel to the highly underrated 1995 gem Before Sunrise. It is nine years after the events of the earlier film, and both Celine and Jesse have matured and grown wiser. They meet in Paris and share an hour or so reminiscing about old times and catching up with as many details of each other's lives as they can. They quickly realise they still share a common bond.

The video quality is excellent, without being startling, while the audio is very much centre channel anchored.

The extras are extremely limited which is probably the most disappointing aspect of the whole disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, January 11, 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

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Damien M

Comments (Add)
Packaging says "Full frame" - REPLY POSTED
Non-remastered Sunrise in Double Set - REPLY POSTED
No additional languages either. -