Neighbouring Sounds

Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 1.5

Following a string of robberies in the city of Recife in Brazil, several of the (relatively well-off) residents of a neighborhood block decide to hire a "security team" to oversee the area. While I sensed Altman's collectivist dramas were a (subconscious?) influence, Mendonça Filho revels in vagueness (plot is barely relevant - when one key character reveals he and his girlfriend broke up, it's never clear - nor especially important - why), punctuating his scenes with the title noises (barking dogs, vibrating washing machines, sounds of children) to represent the apparent social anxiety at work, though this approach is entirely too abstract to produce an appreciable intellectual effect in the audience or even provide much context with regard to present-day issues in non-poor Brazilian life. It's a tease and it's unsatisfying - when it finally reveals that the "security team" has a hidden agenda, it's less surprising than the bloody waterfall or an unexpected visitor during a sexual tryst.