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It should be noted that the movie Before Sunset displays not only a romantic adventure of the two people who are in love, but it is also a film that vividly reveals the way the scenery and the particular city setting might influence people’s lives and decisions. The main heroes walking through the Parisian quarters and gazing at the views of the town experience a range of different emotions that emerge in the modern city of love (Mennel 62). It can be assumed that it was mostly the place itself and the intensive physical designs that we’re able to support and even encourage the new and unrevealed sensations in the two people. Therefore, it should be stated that the contemporary urban planning is not only the conditions in which people live and function but also an important part of everyday life as well that either supports or disrupts people and their perspectives.
As stated by Barbara Mennel, the movie depicts the city and portrays the characters in such a way to reveal the way the setting and its planning contribute to the emergence of an intrigue (Mennel 62). According to the author, it was Paris that provoked the two idlers to enjoy themselves in the city of love and to dive into this encounter after the long nine years of separation when each of them had a life in different countries (Chiasson par. 1). The city setting provokes the leisurely walks and the spontaneous exploration of what this urban center has to offer to its residents and visitors. Thus, the place is simply a platform for adventures. Importantly, none of that would be possible if the main characters met in another city. Paris’s planning includes pedestrian-friendly city structure, allowing and encouraging long walks. Additionally, Paris offers open space for the idlers to reach new experiences. Needless to say that Paris is indeed beautiful in all four seasons.
From the very beginning, the city offers the main heroes such small streets and quarters in which the idlers can either marvel at the beauties of Paris with its sights and architecture or concentrate on each other in an atmosphere of privacy and romance. The two lovers walk down the pedestrian street, and no car or any other distraction could interrupt their talk (Rosenthal par. 2). The buildings are close to each other by allowing pedestrian street life and offering such enclosed spaces that ensure intimacy. Therefore, it can be concluded that the interchanging open public spaces and private ones create such conditions in which people can enjoy both the city and themselves.
As the two lovers continue their walk, they encounter a street that is well controlled and planned. It has man-made gardens and paths for pedestrians, which create the space that is solely recreational. In such a setting, the residents can spend their leisure time in a surrounding that is both well-planned but does not seem artificial. If the pedestrians are tired, it is easy for them to continue enjoying themselves while resting – the city offers plenty of places and benches, allowing slowing down the walk. Such a recreational spot is further replaced by the wide, open space for contrast. Such a change in the city settings contributes to the overall impression of the town’s attractiveness and functionality. As the heroes continue their walk, the city reveals the greater physical distances that alter the intimate atmosphere and encourage people to view the sights of the city and absorb its cultural heritage (Bandarin and van Oers 177). The broadness of the streets allows the visitors to get acquainted with the architecture and the city buildings and provides room for their own thoughts as well.
Role of the City
At this point, it is essential to switch from the precise details of the city life to the actual events taking place in the movie. After the main characters find themselves in a taxi and are separated from the city with its bright life, they start losing their excitement since they are no longer distracted from reality by the beauty of the places, by the historical monuments, buildings, and leisure places. While walking down the city streets and being a part of its life, the reality was romanticized. When the two lovers are alone, their past and present become daunting; consequently, it can be concluded that it was the city and its sights, planning, and the spots it has to offer that produced the vivid emotions and experiences in the two heroes.
It should be emphasized that the way the two heroes have a history, in the same manner, the city with a rich cultural background, fetches up the background of people. It allows every person to find something in the city that is strongly needed by him or her at this specific moment. It can offer both tranquility and hidden intimate spots and open public spaces with seething life (Bandarin and van Oers 176). Thus, if it was not Paris, it is most probable that these events would have never happened due to the fact that it was the place that played the major part. The movie told the story of two people and the city.
The film Before Sunset opens up Paris the best way. It shows that it is one of the world’s cities that are optimized for walking around it. At the heart of the capital of France, the city offers its citizens plenty of space for walking, which is characteristic of a small number of countries (Bandarin and van Oers 178). It can be assumed that the presence of large pedestrian areas makes the residents more friendly and tolerant due to the fact that during their walks, each person invariably faces hundreds and thousands of people. Residents of big cities with large pedestrian areas become more polite and satisfied as their aesthetic, cultural, and social needs are satisfied by the conditions of the city.
Thus, human life flows and changes under the influence of the urban environment in which the city is not only a spatial structure of the human settlement. An individual acts as both subject and object of the urban environment. The city is a socio-historical platform that is influential enough to form a human and the society as a whole. A city is the arena of human life, and, therefore, it is necessary to emphasize that the interaction between the city and the individual has a bilateral character. A person can affect the city as well as the other way round as vividly evidenced by the film Before Sunset.
Bandarin, Francesco, and Ron van Oers. The Historic Urban Landscape. John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
Chiasson, Dan. “Design for Long-Term Living.” The New York Review of Books, 2014, Web.
Mennel, Barbara. Cities and Cinema. Routledge, 2008.
Rosenthal, Elisabeth. “Across Europe, Irking Drivers Is Urban Policy.” The New York Times, 2011, Web.