Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ Trilogy Comes to Criterion with New Box Set
Even for a guy whose films are unified by their pervasive sense of chillness, Richard Linklater’s never been lacking in ambition. He’s pulled off formless philosophical rambles (Slacker, Waking Life) and a bildungsroman twelve years in the making (Boyhood), but his grandest project has to be the Before trilogy of romance films. Across three decades and three pictures (1995’s Before Sunrise, 2004’s Before Sunset, and 2013’s Before Midnight) Linklater has tracked what could justly be named one of cinema’s great love affairs as it’s progressed from infatuation at first sight to a long-awaited reunion to adult life and the domesticity that goes with it.
It’s a special series of films, and today brings the news that audiences will finally be able to bring them all home in pristine quality. Boutique home-video distributor the Criterion Collection announced their slate of releases for February 2017, and the biggest name on the list is Linklater’s, with all three Before movies joining the ranks of the company’s assets. Criterion fans adore the beautiful, clever jacket designs that often accompany the releases, and though the company has yet to reveal the accompanying art, there will be plenty of other extra to fall for. Straight from Criterion, take a look:
- New, restored 2K digital transfers of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset and a 2K digital master of Before Midnight, approved by director Richard Linklater, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Before Sunrise Blu-ray and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Before Sunset and Before Midnight Blu-rays
- New discussion featuring Linklater and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, moderated by critic Kent Jones
- Behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from the productions of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
- Audio commentary on Before Midnight by Delpy, Linklater, and Hawke
- Dream Is Destiny, a 2016 feature-length documentary about Linklater by Louis Black and Karen Bernstein
- New documentary about the making of Before Midnight in Greece by filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari
- 3×2, a new conversation between scholars Dave Johnson and Rob Stone about Linklater’s work
- "Linklater // On Cinema & Time," a video essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
- PLUS: An essay on the trilogy by critic Dennis Lim
The Criterion web site states that the collection will arrive on February 28, a couple weeks too late for the most romantic Valentine’s Day spent at home ever. Even so, this is a huge get for fans of Linklater, cinephiles at large, and enthusiasts of love.