Kleber Mendonca Filho's Neighboring Sounds chronicles the day-to-day life in a middle-class neighborhood in present day Recife, Brazil. The film follows a host of different characters, capturing their personal stories while interweaving them quite masterfully together. There is no main character in Neighboring Sounds, with each character being just as important as the next to tell this story that is a reflection on economics, violence, and history in Brazil. I take that back, the main character of this film is the Neighborhood, which Filho brings to life with fantastic cinematography and sound design. The camera is such an observant viewer, with Filho using a barrage of slow pans and tracking shots that really soak up the environment these individuals live in. The compositions are very beautiful but also elicit theme and emotion. The average viewer would say that Neighboring Sounds has no plot, and while that is true in the tradition sense, the film is a thematically rich experience. Neighboring Sounds lets everything unfold organically, giving the film a "slice of life feel" with its themes brimming just below the surface. From early on in the film it's apparent that these people has been affected greatly by the threat of violence which consumes many of their lives. From the way people live their everyday lives behind prison bars for personal protection to how crime is almost excepted as a part of life, the film gives off a brooding sense of dread. As the film flows towards its conclusion the viewer is left completely in the dark as to what will happen in the narrative and yet one begins to fear the worst. The other major theme outside of violence pertains to the social construct of Brazilian society with Filho frequently using juxaposition to capture this gap between the classes. The film features many characters whom are both rich and poor and we see how their lives are intermingled yet through subtle visuals we see the barriers which separate them. Neighboring Sounds never states either of these themes in an abrupt way and in doing so creates a rather impressive film that feels incredibly intimate and organic in capturing this slice of everyday life in Brazil.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.