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Neighboring Sounds (O Som Ao Redor)

The amazing debut feature from Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho

It’s difficult to remember a first feature as bullishly confident as this horror-tinged social melodrama from Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho. The opening credits alone make for a more riveting sequence than many filmmakers manage in their entire career: over a backdrop of clattering, building drums, we’re shown images of Brazil’s divided past: rich and poor families struggling to survive and make their mark on a new frontier. Cut to a swooping tracking shot of a little girl on rollerskates, and we’re away. The film is set in the oceanside city of Recife, where dwellings are split between well-off families and their servants. Most of the local houses and tower blocks are owned by Seu Francisco (W.J. Solha) who, with his son, João (Gustavo Jahn), acts as a largely benevolent overlord in the neighbourhood. But when a series of burglaries set residents on edge, Francisco agrees to employ the services of security expert Cladoaldo (Irandhir Santos) and his gang of no-bullshit community patrolmen. Essentially a bustling portrait of modern Brazil – with nods to past tragedies – Neighboring Sounds derives its power from Filho’s unusual directorial choices. Utilising techniques learned from horror movies – rumbling low-level noise, effective, unexpected shocks – he creates a sense of mounting dread and lurking evil. It doesn’t always work – the film promises a little more than it delivers and, at over two hours, there are moments where it drags. But as a statement of intent, Neighboring Sounds is incredibly bold. – Tom Huddleston, Time Out Official Trailer

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Directed by: 
Kleber Mendonça Filho
Running Time: 
In Portuguese, English, and Mandarin with English subtitles.
Irma Brown, Sebastião Formiga, Gustavo Jahn, Maeve Jinkings, Dida Maia, W.J. Solha, Irandhi Santos
Screenplay by: 
Kleber Mendonça Filho

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