After Before Midnight
Professor of Film Studies at the University of Birmingham Rob Stone doesn’t seem to go on holidays to unwind. He shot the footage for this video essay on a trip to southern Greece, in the exact same spots where Richard Linklater filmed Before Midnight in 2012. In a sense, Stone went location scouting… but long after the movie wrapped production.
In the third instalment of the Before-trilogy we again meet up with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. After Vienna (Before Sunrise) and Paris (Before Sunset), Linklater now has his leads stroll against the romantic backdrop of the Southern Peloponnese. Rob Stone retraced their steps and that of the film crew, even recreating some of the same set-ups. (I love the detailed way in which he has his stand-in for Ethan Hawke parade around with one half of his shirt untucked, as did Hawke in the movie).
There’s more to Stone’s experiment than mere fandom or the desire to revisit the enchantment of a beloved movie. While trying to recreate the cinematic space as presented by Linklater’s movie, Stone unearths many incongruities. Several of the locations are miles and miles apart, but were presented as within walking distance of one another in the film in order to maintain the unity of space that defined the first two, city-set movies. The noisy presence of cicadas must have made the sound engineer’s life difficult, is another conclusion. All in all this is a great example of how reverse-engineering an existing film can lead to insights that wouldn’t occur to the researcher in any other way.