Hello there, Explainer. Who are you explainering this week?
A great American filmmaker, who once said “If cinema was a painting, time would be the paint itself.” Care to guess who I'm talking about?
Close: it's Richard Linklater.
Could you tell me some information about him?
I found a very informative page on Richard Linklater on the Internet. I'll send you the URL in a little while!
… Really? Nothing? “Linklater”? “URL in a little while”? I'll send the link... later? Link later? Richard Linklater?
Are you doing a joke?
Never mind. Richard Linklater isn't like most American filmmakers. He's not based in Hollywood for starters, and you probably won't ever see his take on a Marvel movie. The Texas-based director was at the forefront of the American independent film movement in the 1990s; he's a self-taught filmmaker who tells small-scale, intimate stories about characters with lots to say.
Go on then. What has he done? I might have seen some of them.
He first got noticed with Slacker, a paean to early nineties American youth culture which caught lots of festival buzz. He followed that up with the counter-culture classic, Dazed And Confused, starring a very young (and very creepy) Matthew McConaughey. His new movie, Everybody Wants Some!! (double exclamation very much the filmmaker's own) is labelled a “spiritual sequel” to that movie.
You mean like Ghostbusters II?
Not quite: though it doesn't feature any characters from Dazed And Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! also centres on a group of raucous young American boys who are coming to terms with their own independence at college. Interestingly, Linklater has stated that EWS!! is also a sequel-of-sorts to Boyhood, his remarkable 2014 Oscar-winning epic. “I don’t know if one film can be a sequel to two different movies,” he says, “but it begins right where Boyhood ends with a guy showing up at college and meeting his new roommates and a girl. It overlaps with the end of Boyhood.”
Boyhood, now that one I've seen: it's the one with the kid with that rapid ageing disease, right? The poor sod must be 101 by now.
Linklater – a very patient master of the arts – actually filmed Boyhood with the same cast, including star Ellar Coltrane – over 12 years, letting us see a boy become a man over the course of one incredible movie. It's like a cinematic time capsule that is the perfect illustration of exactly why Richard Linklater is so essential to the American film landscape: he is an expert at capturing the essence of a time and a place.
Is there a reason that time and place almost always seems to feature Ethan Hawke?
Someone's been doing their research. You're right, Ethan Hawke does feature prominently in Richard Linklater's work; the pair have worked together eight times over 20 years, most famously in the 'Before' trilogy – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight. All were shot with Hawke and actress Julie Delpy playing the same lovelorn characters who meet up around 10 years since their last encounter.
10 years between movies? A 12-year shoot? I think Mr Linklater needs to up his work rate. He should call himself Richard Linksooner!
I will not dignify that attempt at a joke with a response.
Thanks, Explainer! Here's hoping we bump into each other again in a decade and have lots of stories to share!
Check out our exclusive interview with the man himself below, as he talks about the personal challenge of making Everybody Wants Some!!
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