Monday, October 14, 2013

Nuestro Cine: Silence Isn’t Golden

Our final “Nuestro Cine” entry on the movies vying for top foreign film Oscar is from Brazil and is reminiscent of the Spanish-language saying: “Ojos vemos, corazones no sabemos.”  (This can roughly be translated into “We don’t know in our hearts what we see with our eyes.”)   

“Neighbouring Sounds” (“O Som ao Redor”) is set in what appears to be a safe and wealthy residential area of Recife.  This perception is flipped around, however, with the hiring of a private security firm tasked with patrolling the neighborhood.  The film gradually exposes the contradictions, tensions and complex relationships among residents of varying social and economic levels.  As mentioned in the New York Times, the film thus becomes “a thriller without a plot” where “no one can quite see or hear what is coming, but something is out there, just on the other side of the whatever we think keeps us safe”.

“Neighbouring Sounds” has received scores of positive reviews from critics that have called the film “absorbing and extremely promising”, “incredibly bold” and a “remarkable, understated fable.”  Plenty of praise has also been given towards Kleber Mendonça Filho, the ex-movie critic who made his feature film directorial debut with “Neighbouring Sounds.” 

Despite the high acclaim received by “Neighbouring Sounds,” Mendonça has apparently taken it all in stride.

“The Oscars are all metaphysical,” he recently said to the Brazilian press.  “I cannot say if we will be a finalist or even if we will win.  It’s no use trying to push the film as if it were trying to move uphill.  The best thing to do is let it run on its own.”

Below the page break is the film trailer for “Neighbouring Sounds” where you can decide for yourself if the critical praise is accurate or not:

Including “Neighbouring Sounds”, we’ve looked at six Latin American movies that are in the race for the next Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.  But which film from the region has the best chance of being named as one of the five finalists to the prestigious prize?  Could it be one of the movies we’ve examined like the Peruvian film set in a stark Lima of the future or the uplifting drama examining a Chilean divorcee’s plunge into romance? Perhaps it’s a film we didn’t review such as a fictional flick on Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele’s exile in Argentina or a delightful romantic comedy from the Dominican Republic

What do you think?

Video Source– YouTube via Zurich Film Festival 

Online Sources – Ultimo Segundo; Rotten Tomatoes; New York Times; Dominican Today;

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