Neighbouring Sounds (2012) : Sound of Silence

Neighbouring Sounds (2012) is the debut film of Brazilian critic turned film-maker Kleber Medonça Filho, and focuses on the grittier Brazil, worlds apart from the carnival capital that international audiences think it is. The film focuses on themes of paranoia and the growth of Brazilian middle class (whilst seeing the decline of the upper-middle classes as a result) within this community, which Filho uses as a microcosm for contemporary Brazil. The film uses a series of interwoven characters and narratives, which at times can feel a little tedious and provide no apparent function in furthering the plot. However as a film that reflects social themes and issues perhaps it is harder for international audiences to fully understand and appreciate the significance of all elements of the film? But this does not seem to be the case in other films that focus on domestic social issues such as Cria Cuervos, Volver (Spain) and Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico)so it seems that the problem does not lie within the narrative but more how the director chooses to engage with and present their respective issues. There are some interesting cinematography and sound choices but overall this film feels very flat, almost monotonous, mirroring mother Bia’s boredom and sense of being trapped in a film that ultimately offers very little chance of escape. Whilst I’m sure that the film provides a very interesting critique of Brazilian society, there is little to get excited about and perhaps the director could have injected a little of the carnival spirit into the film to bring some life and variety to what is otherwise a very dull film.


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