Cinematic trilogies tend to be epic in scope: “The Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars,” “A Fistful of Dollars.” Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy — 1995’s “Before Sunrise,” 2004’s “Before Sunset” and 2013’s “Before Midnight” — is an exception to that and many other rules, not least because it was never actually intended as a trilogy. The films simply come about one every decade or so, each of them feeling organic and necessary rather than tacked-on additions to a once-perfect story. In a new video, the parallels among the three films are laid out simultaneously.
Lasting just over a minute long, “Three Chapters, One Lifetime” shows how any number of elements from the trilogy repeat themselves: shots of stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke walking and talking, shots of Delpy and Hawke…sitting and talking. It isn’t exactly revelatory that imagery from low-key, dialogue-heavy movies would recur, nor is that the point — it’s simply a chance to see it all side by side. There’s no diegetic sound accompanying the imagery, just a quiet piano piece.
Linklater’s most recent film “Everybody Wants Some!!” was a spiritual successor to “Dazed and Confused,” which predates the entire “Before” trilogy. If tradition holds, we’ll find out whether there’ll be another film in that series sometime near 2022.