He makes movies like no one else, pushing the boundaries of cinema at every turn

By Nicole Sperling
Updated July 11, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

Dazed and Confused, 1993
With his free-flowing tale of Texas teens on the last day of school in 1976, Linklater captures the laid-back vibe of the Me Decade with uncanny accuracy. Also: He cast Matthew McConaughey in his first big-screen role. All right, all right, all right.

Before Sunrise, 1995
How does love evolve? Before Sunrise and its sequels, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, explore this question in a wholly original way, returning every nine years to the complicated relationship of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy).

Waking Life, 2001
Linklater used rotoscoping (i.e., animators drew over live-action footage) for his dreamlike meditation on the meaning of life. Beautiful and confounding, it includes a sequence with Hawke and Delpy’s Jesse and Celine.