Before and After

Screen 'Before Midnight' and its prequels back-to-back with AFS

Before Midnight
Before Midnight

Confession: I took rather a unique approach to watching Richard Linklater's Before trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

I mean, generally speaking, I've taken kind of a unique approach to moviegoing my whole life – if by "unique," you mean "delayed." I came to Titanic five years late, and I didn't see the Little Mermaid until sophomore year of high school … which is normal for someone born in 1976, but I'm a kid of the late Eighties, so I have no excuses. (Not the best characteristic for a young Screens section editor, but hey, I've gotten better.)

So anyway, while my co-workers and friends were anxiously awaiting the South by Southwest premiere of the long-awaited (by some) third act after 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset, I was clueless.

And then I was invited to a press screening.

There are plenty of things in life I'm OK with showing up unprepared for: weekly editors' meetings, the odd Italian oral presentation, a semiannual dentist appointment. But showing up to the third part of a trilogy without having seen the prequels? That's just poor form. So the night before the screening (it's SXSW season, you think I'm made of free time?), I plunked myself down on the couch, popped in some earbuds, and got down to business.

There on the sofa, in my marathon screening session that bled into the early morning hours as the sun rose over Jesse and Celine in Vienna, I watched young love and philosophizing and friendship and chance and … well, you know. It was just me who didn't.

And so then when I walked into the Violet Crown Cinema the next morning (or later that day, depending on how you view it), I got the unique opportunity to dive right back into those raw emotions immediately, without having the nine years of life intervene. I got to watch it all unfold as one seamless narrative arc, no rose-tinted glasses or hindsight in the way. And I'm not saying it was the perfect viewing experience, but it's certainly something you should try if given the chance.

All of which is to say: The Austin Film Society is giving you that chance.

Whether you're meeting the duo for the first time or sitting back down for your 18th rewatch in as many years, join AFS in their Before Trilogy day on Sunday, May 19, at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre (6226 Middle Fiskville). You can pick up single tickets to the first two (11am and 4pm, respectively) or one complete pass that includes all three – yep, you can see Before Midnight that night at 9pm, almost a full week before everyone else.

Tickets will be available Tuesday, May 7, for AFS members ($10 each for the prequels or $20 for all three) and Thursday, May 9, for nonmembers (prices double). But go check out the complete details on the AFS website. You'll have to excuse me; I've got half a dozen Rocky movies to get caught up on, apparently.

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Austin Film Society, Before Midnight, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Marchesa Hall & Theatre

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