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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brazilian Drama that deals with class, crime and insecurity., 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Neighbouring Sounds [DVD] (DVD)
This is the debut feature length film from Brazilian film maker Kleber Mendonça Filho, who has made a film that is so subtle in approach to the issues it deals with, that you are going to love it or hate it. Original title was "O Som ao Redor" and it opens in black and white with scenes of poor field workers sweating for a pittance in the fields in the countryside, this then morphs to a girl on roller blades enjoying herself in an upper class urbanisation, and in colour. Then we are confronted with a `nice' residence in Recife, Eastern Brazil, where the affluent residents are suffering from a mini crime wave.

The `action' is predominantly shown by the noises emanating from parts of the street. We have a dog that never shuts up, vacuum cleaners car screeches and all the urban rumble with intense happenings closer to home. So a security firm is hired and the neighbours soon all chip in to hire their services. Brazil is a have and have not society where the poor are very poor indeed and the rich don't want them near them except to do the jobs they don't like - much like here actually. A lot of Brazilian films take place in those crime infested areas like the favellas but this is how the other half live. We have a water delivery guy who supplies a bit more than H2O, a couple who are happy to copulate in front of `the help' and a local don type who doesn't mind swimming with sharks, to name but a few.

It is layered but all comes together in the central themes of inequity, insecurity and crime in a very split society. The need to protect what is yours also leads people to being more isolated and at times it has the feeling of claustrophobia. The security guards are also not what they seem and all is set up for a very intriguing ending.

This is one of those films that is a journey and not merely a series of twists at the end to get the audience gasping. There is a message and I actually thought it has "worthy" written all over its sleeve. That for me was the real problem here, and the 131 minute run time, it could have been a lot shorter, once you have made your point you are allowed to move on and not keep on making it. The humorous parts are needed but are few and far between; however this does stand up relatively well but as I said earlier will provoke strong emotions and not very much fence sitting. I actually liked it but I am a keen World cinema fan, even so I felt the pacing and length acted as a barrier to my absolutely loving it, I will though happily watch Kleber Mendonça Filho's next one due in 2014 called `Bacarau' and wish him all the best.
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