Sidewalls & And A Few Thoughts on Passion

November 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Imagine living in a city and having no idea that a stranger who lives down the block from you is your soulmate. Sidewalls is a romantic comedy directed by Gustavo Taretto. I watched it this past weekend and it left a strong impression on me and re-instilled my desire to believe in destiny.

The film is about two strangers who live in Buenos Aires, literally separated by sidewalls, and are destined to be together. The principals, Martín (Javíer Drolas) and Mariana (Pilar López de Ayala) have both been through their fair shares of heartbreak and each have their own set of disturbances that makes daily life difficult. Martín is a web-designer who seeks solace in his computer screen in late hours of the night and a physical relationship with an empty dog-walker in the day. Mariana is an artist who is recovering from a break-up with a boyfriend of four years, and encounters frequent periods of extreme sadness that impair her stability. She creates store window displays with mannequins, though her true passion lies in architecture and her fascination with medianeras, or sidewalls. She believes these bland, windowless walls that make up a great part of the city of Buenos Aires are to blame for the restlessness and neuroses that make up the citizens of the city (which we see first-hand in herself and Martín).

Something that stayed in my head was a comment Mariana made about people’s admiration of her work. She said that when a passer-by would stop to look at the displays she created, it was as if the person was interested in a part of her. I admired her passion for her work, and I feel a similar sense of accomplishment when I see people enjoying/reading/looking at something I have created.

The viewer has a sense that Martín and Mariana will meet, as they live in the same neighborhood and are in the same place multiple times throughout the film. I won’t give away the ending because I think it’s a great movie that anyone could appreciate. I will say that I felt a strong connection with Mariana’s character, perhaps because of that passion that she holds. She is very intense, as one minute she is in tears thinking about the “35040 hours spent with the wrong person,” the next she is engrossed in her work behind the windows of a store, styling mannequins.

Maybe she reminds me of someone, or maybe I just admire passionate people in general. I think the expression of feelings, even intense ones, can bring people together and allow them to connect with one another. I think when intense people are deeply connected with something– whether it be a job, person, feeling, place, etc., the passion they exhibit is fantastic. The passion Mariana showed throughout the film was beautiful and awe-inspiring to me.

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