The Plot takes place in Manhattan, the most filmic city in the world where two cities exist simultaneously occupying the same geographical space” the City of the Physical World and the Cinematic city”
Each of the cities operates independently with different codes, scales, and times, overlapping their structures, however they had become completely constitutive, in such a way that they can just be perceived and experienced as one single City.
From a physical standpoint, little differentiates the two cities, other than slight differences of architecture, time lapses, light perceptions…however the separation between these two cities is becoming more and more emphasized trough time changing their atmosphere and character through it’s architectural treatment. Those who do not know about the separation might naturally view the two cities as one.
Is just in very special occasions, usually by accident, when one of the cities is revealed by it’s own, and discovered without the other, is within this very particular moments where the inhabitant feels alienated, the ‘unseen’, the fade into the background, comes to a foreground an it’s presented by it’s own.
We could say, as China Miéville describes in The City and The City, that three main regions compose both cities. The areas, which belong to the physical city (Total Areas), in which the observer currently works and lives. The filmic areas (Alter Areas), which are completely in the other city, normally unseen and ignored and finally the in-between areas (Crosshatch Areas) where they come together. These areas that exist in both cities usually go under different names in each of the cities.
However there are also a few buildings, which exists in both cities under the same name. Performing in different ways at the same time becoming a “border” or a “portal” from where both cities can be perceived individually.
Being in this border is the only way in which one can consciously and officially pass from one city to another. Passing through the border passage takes travelers, geographically to the exact place they started from, but in a different city.