April 22, 2013

Neighboring Sounds (2012)

Neighboring Sounds (2012)
Directed by: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Country: Brazil

Review: Simultaneously bizarre and audacious, “Neighboring Sounds” was an agreeable surprise. With his witty vision, Kleber Mendonça Filho portrays a middle-class neighborhood of Recife, Brazil. To define its spirit and insecurity, the story guides us through a series of adventurous situations, most of them unexpected and intriguing. The title is meaningful, since the howl of a dog or loud music in the streets could cause exasperation on some characters. Precious details present in every scene help to compose the bigger picture of an unbalanced society with all the problematic aspects about human relationships and personal needs. While some behaviors are completely normal, depicting a calm quotidian life, others seem mysterious or unusual, creating a curiosity that refuses to leave. Some episodes were so delightful, abrupt, and unforeseen, that I kept them in my mind. I’m remembering of insomniac Bia being attacked by a neighbor, smoking a joint with the help of a vacuum cleaner, or getting horny with a washing machine; or even a realistic condominium meeting to discuss what to do with the old doorman who sleeps in every corner. Some other scenes are meant to baffle us, and then are purposely left behind without explanation, accumulating tension that never really bursts in any occasion. This fact can become frustrating for some viewers, but the originality, irreverence, and loose style adopted, made “Neighboring Sounds” a distinct experience, even with an inarticulate storyline.

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