Neighboring Sounds Movie Review

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Can a country’s tragic and brutal history be effectively expressed through the microcosm of a single street in one neighborhood? Probably not. And such seems to be the unfortunate case of Kleber Mendonca Filho’s Brazilian drama, Neighbouring Sounds.

Leisurely paced to excruciatingly painful effect in a far too long two hours and ten minutes, Neighbouring Sounds features bickering families, local gossip, petty disagreements, smug patricians, shady free lance security guards, intermittent female sex objects on hand, and one annoying, eventually drugged watchdog.

A story playing out primarily between the lines and possibly muddled while lost in translation, Neighbouring Sounds is presumably about toxic class conflict, and the unresolved criminal legacy of a not quite buried past under Brazil’s military junta during the mid-20th century. You could have fooled me.

Which is not to say this review is intended to trivialize those horrors and its many political victims. Rather, it’s the film that seems to be doing just that thing. Otherwise, please help me out here, can someone explain how Brazil’s version of a desperate housewife secretly pleasuring herself atop her washing machine’s spin dry cycle, symbolizes crimes against humanity. Sorry, aestheticizing traumatic memory touching on military atrocities against the masses in a movie, just won’t do. And shouldn’t.

Cinema Guild

Unrated

1 [out of 4] star

To see the trailer of Neighboring Sounds:

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.