St Richard of Austin completes a trilogy

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Acclaimed American director Richard Linklater or St Richard of Austin, as he is affectionately called, has surprised all with his minimalist, unorthodox narrative again in the third part of his Jesse-Celine trilogy Before Midnight.

In the 1995 Before Sunrise, they met on a Vienna bound train, kept each other company while revealing their feelings to each other before they parted early in the morning to continue their different journeys. In Before Sunset made in 2004, they met at a book reading promotion of Jesse in Paris and become more intimate. Jesse misses the flight to be with Celine. In 2013 Berlinale competition presentation, they are a married couple with their twin daughters. Jesse is attending the writers’ retreat in the Greek village of Kardamyli with his family. They talk about their lives, views on everything under the sun and wander around the picturesque village. In the process of their discussions, they bicker, quarrel and Celine leaves the room to sit alone on the poolside. It is for the ever-romantic Jesse to talk about their lives when they would be in their eighties and make peace. Before Midnight, they should patch up.

Linklater’s trilogy is confined to time frames of a few hours or as in the case of Before Midnight, a few days. Decades of recollections are limited to discussions between Jesse and Celine. Economics, politics, philosophy, our everyday lives and aspirations; small intimate moments in life remain the focus of the film -- simple people with their simple lives and simple aspirations.

Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore’s film The Best Offer in English deals with the rise and fall of Virgil Oldman, the managing director of a leading auction house. Virgil is unmarried and collects masterpieces of paintings of women from several eras on his own. He is obsessed with his leather gloves and dying his hair. He is called by a mysterious young girl to evaluate her family antiques. In this process, the old bachelor is smitten by the charm of the apparently helpless girl. He opens his heart and home to the girl and decides to quit the auction house after a grand last one, to spend his remaining life with the young girl. “As in art, can human emotions also be faked?” Virgil will discover to his great peril.

The film develops almost like a romantic thriller -- full of twists and intrigues. Passions and idiosyncrasies, shrewd manoeuvres and sly dealings, greed and lust play out stylishly in this accomplished film.

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