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BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Romantic Love Part 3
Whether meandering through the streets of Messinia, Vienna, or Paris, the films are never travelogues -- the focus always returns to Celine and Jesse and their trajectories.

"Life beats you up," says Hawke. "It's very telling that this movie starts with the unseen casualty of the last movie -- Henry, Jesse's son, who has now grown up separated from his father. Sure we're all rooting for Jesse to stay in Paris when he finds Celine again, but now, after all these years, we see that there are consequences. It's a nice accidental accomplishment that time does a lot of the work for us. We're older, we're deepening, our characters are deepening. There's a certain kind of confidence that Jesse has in the first movie that only young men have. That's lost its charm for Celine."

"Okay," says Delpy, "When you do follow the person you love, what happens? It's not going to be that idealized, rosy-glass romantic love. There's no perfect relationship -- when I see people that are too perfect together, there's something really weird. When I see people arguing and having issues and stuff, I'm like, Yeah this is a real couple, I believe it."

Says Hawke, "The earlier films are so much about romantic projection, the way we fantasize who somebody might be for us. It seemed that if we were going to make a third film we simply had to say what happens behind the curtain. What happens when the clothes come off? And that seems to be a very necessary movie for us to make at this point in our lives in our forties. It's where the rubber meets the road as a human being. You're in the midpoint of your life and it's like there's a certain feeling of, "Is that all there is?" And there's a certain feeling of gratitude that can slip in and a certain disappointment, and they're kind of at war with each other. We're interested in that gray area."

"We love both characters, and we didn't want victims," says Delpy. "Victims aren't much fun to watch."

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