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“Before Sunset”: Paris Is Still the City of Love Essay


The film Before Sunset (2004) dwells upon a story of two people who meet after a long parting in one of the most romantic cities of the world. The movie is about love and it is but natural that it is set in Paris. Notably, a variety of films reveal the romantic facet of the French capital and Richard Linklater’s film also highlights some of the most romantic parts of Paris.

Some people may say that the city is an ordinary urban settlement which is no different from the rest of the cities in the world, but such film as Before Sunset proves that there is something special about the very planning of the city. The two people are trying to figure out whether they can be together and their dialogue is hardly interrupted by other people.

The people in love are in the heart of the urban city but they are still in their own intimate shell as Paris suggests such intimate venues as narrow streets, cozy cafes, picturesque parks and boats which help people enjoy the intriguing views of Paris.

One of the most remarkable features of Paris is that it has so many narrow streets which create a really special intimate atmosphere. Thus, the two people need privacy as they want to spend time together. It could be really difficult in the majority of urban areas of the world, but Paris is a special place. There have been many attempts to zone the city to adjust it to the changing needs of the changing society (Gordon 19).

However, the narrow streets are still there and they form a really amazing network. This specific planning can be regarded as a certain heritage of the Middle Ages when European civilized urban areas were much alike (Macionis & Parrillo 232). However, Parisians decided to keep this aspect of their medieval civilized past, but transformed it into a bit different concept.

The tiny streets of the medieval city which are associated with poverty and insanitary conditions are now symbols of intimacy. The main characters are strolling about the streets and discussing quite intimate things and it is impossible to be dishonest and Jesse unveils his trip to Vienne (Before Sunset).

The two people are also getting closer as if the tiny streets make them bend to each other and they feel they are as close as they were in Vienne.

Another stage of the couple’s meeting takes place in a cozy Parisian café where the conversation is getting even more intimate. There can be no surprise that the main characters choose this setting for their conversation as they want to learn more about each other’s life.

They avoid crowded and noisy places like shops to be able to talk (Before Sunset). Admittedly, small cafes are famous for their special romantic atmosphere where people can reveal their secrets and their true feelings. The French capital is full of such tiny cafes where couples in love spend their time.

Zukin stresses that urban areas are cultural centers where theatres, concert halls, museums provide people with entertainment and other joys of civilization (132). Of course, cafes can be easily put in the same array as these places have often been venues for cultural development as the majority of artistic people have found their inspiration there.

Block notes that “cafes are the setting for passing connections between strangers” (8). This concept is also addressed in the film in question, but the connection between the main characters is proved to be strong and lasting.

Remarkably, the two people strive for talking and strolling and they choose an enjoyable root through the park. Being an urban city, in many cases, means that people are imprisoned in a concrete cell. Of course, major metros have solved this problem and created numerous recreational parks within their boundaries. Paris is no exception and the city has lots of really beautiful parks.

However, all Parisian parks are somewhat different. Of course, the abundance of a variety of tinges of green creates a marvelous setting. The parks are full of numerous places to sit and contemplate or talk. It is possible to state that every park is a picturesque projection of the Parisian narrow street.

Again, people are not closed in their shells and they are ready to share the most intimate emotions. Nature and urban characteristics tessellate into a majestic mosaic which encourages people to be romantic and sincere.

The main characters start talking about really intimate things while sitting in one of secluded places of the park (Before Sunset). This conversation proves that Paris is one of the most romantic urban places in the world.

Finally, the film also reveals another aspect of the city, i.e. splendid time on a boat creates really special atmosphere and helps people feel the very essence of the French capital. Though, Jesse is in a hurry, he does not want to lose an opportunity to enjoy the views while exploring Seine’s banks (Before Sunset).

These moments are somewhat poisoned by the necessity to think about the plane and the new parting. However, they soon forget about everything and just keep sharing their most intimate secrets and emotions. Again, though the boat is a public place and there are other people, the main characters have certain intimacy.

Remarkably, Seine is associated with romance and Parisians as well as numerous tourists leave their traces there. The bridges across the Seine have become a place for making promises of the eternal love as people adjust ‘love locks’ to the bridges (Agence France Presse n.p.). Clearly, the city’s layout helps people remain romantic and bring meaning to seemingly simple things and places.

On balance, it is possible to state that Paris is one of the most remarkable capitals as it is saturated with romance and sincerity. Narrow streets, cozy cafes, numerous parks and the main river of the city are parts of the whole picture. The layout of the city is very specific as it is an urban city which is sometimes overcrowded. Nonetheless, it also offers a variety of places to hide and share the deepest emotions.

Paris is certain evidence that impossible is manageable and urban areas can have plenty of places for privacy. The film in question reveals this facet of the French capital and the story of the two people becomes a symbol of the most characteristic features of the city.

The filmmakers managed to reveal a part of the city planning with a focus on romance and privacy. Therefore, it is clear that urban areas are not necessarily crowded concrete cells for millions, but they can have numerous places for joys of life and love.

Works Cited

Agence France Presse. “Love Locks in Paris Beat All, Even City Hall.” Arab News 16 August 2012. Web.

Before Sunset. Ex. Prod. Richard Linklater. Burbank, CA.: Warner Independent Pictures. 2004. DVD.

Block, Marcelline. World Film Locations: Paris. Chicago, IL: Intellect Books, 2011. Print.

Gordon, David L. Planning 20th Century Capital Cities. New York, NY: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Macionis, John J. and Vincent N. Parrillo. Cities and Urban Life. New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.

Zukin, Sharon. “Whose Culture? Whose City?” The City Reader. Ed. R.T. LeGates and F. Stout. London: Routledge, 1995. 131-142. Print.

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"“Before Sunset”: Paris Is Still the City of Love." IvyPanda, 19 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/before-sunset-paris-is-still-the-city-of-love-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "“Before Sunset”: Paris Is Still the City of Love." April 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/before-sunset-paris-is-still-the-city-of-love-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) '“Before Sunset”: Paris Is Still the City of Love'. 19 April.

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