Life in the country is often viewed as a calm, quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. In the movie “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”, F.W Murnau depicts a comfortable, friendly country environment and a restless and loud urban setting of the early nineteenth century; a contrast which is as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. However, despite the fact that life in the country is much more calm and beautiful, life in the city provides many advantages, such as entertainment, arts, culture, and more social and career opportunities. Urban life gives us a better chance at success in our modern lives than life in the country does. The benefits of rural life are greatly exaggerated, and the slow paced lifestyle of the country is largely romanticized.
One of the most important reasons that the urban life is better than country life is the cultural diversity of the city. Although the rural culture of farms, small towns, nice open fields and nature can be very appealing, there is no diversity; it is the same pretty much everywhere. The city is where cultures collide, bringing in a mosaic of ideas, cultures, and information. This web of information, coming from people of all kinds of different upbringings, helps us grow into beings who communicate and share with each other. This is relevant to “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” because, at the time the movie takes place, the cultural barriers of old were just beginning to dissolve in favour of more tolerant, diverse societies in which anyone is free to share ideas and pursue the dreams they wish to.
Another big reason that urban life is preferable over rural life is the fantastic career and social opportunities that are provided with an urban lifestyle. In the movie, the Man, his Wife, and the rest of the townspeople are shown as humble, lower-class, small-townspeople who don’t own much property and are out of touch with urban trends and modern society. The Woman from the City was much more in touch with current trends and presented herself in a much more sophisticated, elegant manner than any of the country folk. She gave off an impression of respect and social status. In the city, there are many more job opportunities than in the country. Almost every high-paying job in the business world is in an urban area, and the numbers of jobs available in the country are limited. In the past, rural life was just as beneficial as city life but in this modern age, and the time of Sunrise, the connections and opportunities gained from life in the city are too important to overlook.
Probably the most important reason that life in the city was better that life in the country in Sunrise was the amount of entertaining things in the city. In The Man’s town, there was very little to do in terms of entertainment. However, when he and his wife took a trip to the big city, the busy streets of the city gave an impression that there was always a lot going on in urban life. Although the country life can be viewed as relaxing and pleasant, from a different perspective it can also be looked at as slow and mundane, with few things to entertain. City events, such as the carnival that the Man and his Wife attended, are one of the reasons why city life is so much more upbeat and entertaining than a rural lifestyle. The Man and his Wife seemed to have an exceptionally good time at the carnival; back home, their marriage was falling apart, but they were able to spark their love for each other once again when they visited the big city.
In “Sunrise: a Song of Two Humans”, F.W Murnau did a fantastic job of portraying these two drastically different ways of life, and despite the relaxed, calm atmosphere of the country, my heart belongs with the city. The diversity, entertainment, and opportunity available in urban places is unmatched by rural life. The hustle and bustle of the city provides a fulfilling sort of life that simply cannot be attained by living in the country.
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