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Short summary

The lives of the residents of a Brazilian apartment building and the security guards who get the job guarding the surrounding streets.
Life in a middle-class neighborhood in present day Recife, Brazil, takes an unexpected turn after the arrival of an independent private security firm. The presence of these men brings a sense of safety and a good deal of anxiety to a culture which runs on fear. Meanwhile, Bia, married and mother of two, must find a way to deal with the constant barking and howling of her neighbor's dog. A slice of 'Braziliana', a reflection on history, violence and noise.

Trailers "O Som ao Redor (2012)"

Official submission of Brazil to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category.

First theatrical film directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Pumpit
    Sounds punctuate the neighborhood in Kleber Filho's exhilarating Neighboring Sounds: a dog barks incessantly, street vendors blast their stereos, the noise of TVs reverberate through the streets, a vacuum cleaner rumbles, a washing machine vibrates, and a car sideswipes another. Neighboring Sounds employs a wealth of cinematography and sound to chronicle the anxiety that permeates a middle-class street in Recife, Brazil's fifth largest city. Winner of the FIPRECI Prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival and four major awards at the Gramado Film Festival in Brazil, the film appears to be a typical crime drama but becomes a mix of the existential ennui of Antonioni and the paranoia of David Lynch.

    Antonioni's own characterization of his 1960 masterpiece, L'Avventura, is a good fit for Filho's first feature, "Nothing," he said," appears as it should in a world where nothing is certain. The only thing certain is the existence of a secret violence that makes everything uncertain." Unlike many Brazilian films, this is not about favelas or drugs, but about the uneasy divide between a growing middle-class and their help living side-by-side in a crowded urban setting. Scenes are framed behind fences and grated doors to suggest maximum isolation, a suggestion that in today's Brazilian urban areas, a melting pot is built out of necessity, not of choice.

    The film opens with a montage of black and white photos of workers in a sugarcane plantation peering into the camera with tools raised, and sweat accumulating on their faces from slaving in the fields in the heat of the day. The weary faces suddenly melt into the shot of a young girl on rollerblades in a parking lot surrounded by tall white-walled condos. Like Lucretia Martel's La Cienaga, Neighboring Sounds unfolds in a series of small incidents that convey an atmosphere of encroaching claustrophobia. Pointing to the local power structures that rule the streets, the block is run by the local "don," Francisco (W. J. Solha), a wealthy landlord with a questionable past. João (Gustavo Jahn), Francisco's grandson, is a real estate agent for the family who has established a promising relationship with Sofia (Irma Brown).

    Accumulated incidents shape the film's message. João and Sofia are caught naked in their living room by the arriving housemaid Maria (Mauricéa Conceicão) who makes light of the incident, engaging in conversation with João and Sofia in the confining space of his kitchen. Bia (Maeve Jinkins), another nearby resident trying to raise two small children, is consumed by managing her domestic help, organizing English and Mandarin lessons for her young children, while drugging the neighbor's dog, amusing herself by smoking pot delivered to her by a drug-dealing water delivery man, and masturbating to the whir of the washing machine. Meanwhile, Sofia tells João that her CD player has been stolen from her car and asks for help to get it returned.

    João immediately suspects his cousin Dinho (Yuri Holanda), a layabout who is used to getting what he wants and reacts aggressively when confronted. Sparked by the car theft and other recent incidents on the block, João hires a security patrol manned by Clodoaldo (Irandhir Santos) to oversee the neighborhood's safety. Though the residents of the block are relatively well off, they need more and more security but even then, do not feel safe in a country where there is a large disparity between rich and poor. The security patrol is ostensibly there to ensure the neighbor's safety, but accomplishes the very opposite when their true motives are revealed. As the accumulation of tension explodes in an illuminating burst of sound, the world ends not with a whimper but with a bang.
  • comment
    • Author: Delaath
    This film deals with Brazilian social relations from a historical perspective and innovative focus. The first images show the Big House and the slave quarters on a sugar cane mill where historians say is the origin of Brazilian society. From there the director leads the XXI century to show the consequences in the present time in relations between the descendants of slaves and landowners and the middle and lower classes in the twentieth century neighborhood in the city of Recife (northeast). It's amazing how the director gets not only translate into images different dimensions of social relations in the society but also establishes a link between the past and the present. Nexus that crosses the whole movie and that stressed by a kind of violence that is not present in images but is syncopated by its excellent soundtrack. I'm pretty sure to recommend this film because I believe it worked as a whole to show us an snapshot of the Brazilian society.
  • comment
    • Author: Meri
    The Brazilian film O som ao redor was shown in the U.S. with the title Neighbouring Sounds (2012). It was directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho.

    The setting for this movie is modern day Recife, Brazil. (Recife is a seaport at the easternmost tip of Brazil.) A better title for the movie would be "Neighborhood Sounds," because the sounds in this affluent neighborhood are intimately involved with the plot.

    This is not a violent film. It doesn't take place in a favela, but rather in an affluent neighborhood. Still, violence is always lurking in the neighborhood, just off-screen. Every home has a security system, but any car parked in the street is fair game for thieves.

    A security firm comes to the neighborhood, and most of the residents ante up the money to purchase their services. The security men appear honest and capable enough, and hiring them probably made sense. They become part of the neighborhood scene.

    Meanwhile, life goes on around them. There's a dog that howls and barks all night, a woman who uses her vacuum to suck marijuana smoke out of her apartment, a pair of lovers, a deliveryman who delivers water and other substances on demand, and the locally influential man who walks past the "caution--sharks" sign to go swimming.

    Matters come together in the end in a way I would never have predicted. I'm not going to spoil the ending by even hinting at it. However, it made sense once I thought about it.

    We saw the film at the newly refurbished, excellent Dryden Theatre at Eastman House in Rochester, NY. However, it will work very well on DVD.
  • comment
    • Author: Zadora
    The people who find it dull (and there are quite a few judging from the IMDb reviews) really have dull minds.

    While this movie plays like a slice of life drama in a neighborhood in Recife, every single scene is carefully and meaningfully put together to speak about the nature of social structures in Brazil which date back to plantation times.

    These things may be more discernible in Northeastern states like Pernambuco where the plantations once flourished and formed the basis of the societal constructs and defined human relationships, but their residue still permeates the country as a whole, which, while trying to move beyond them, still remains mired in the same kind of stratifications.

    The film opens with black and white pictures of a plantation and then segues into a drama in 3 acts, using a crisscrossing narrative that delves into the day to day lives of various people who live and work on same street. And through their interactions and involvements we are given a very clear picture of class system as microcosm.

    This film is more than a simple slice of life. For those of you familiar with the films of Lucrecia Martel (Argentina), what seems to be disconnected and inconsequential is put together like a jigsaw puzzle that leads brilliantly to the films final scene, at which point the entire story crystallizes before our very eyes, and we realize how well it has been supported and enriched by all we have been shown.

    Throughout the film, there are narrative constructs for use to take hold of: the chapter headings, certain scenes that foreshadow, and a soundtrack the underscores where we are headed, without ever being exactly clear what we should prepare for. And this is, to a large part, the filmmaker's genius.
  • comment
    • Author: Rocky Basilisk
    When the third wave of Cinema Novo was brought to an abrupt end, the quality of cinematic output coming from Brazil stagnated quite considerably.

    It wasn't really until the films Central Station and City of God surfaced (the latter of which gaining significant critical acclaim) that Brazilian cinema was once again seen as a powerhouse in independent and avant film-making.

    Much like the aforementioned films, the themes of class and social attitude have pervaded the fabric of the modern Brazilian film, which has become increasingly acute in these perceptions and engaging in the issues of a country which, although rapidly growing and progressing, still faces basic problems of a social landscape that is far from the ideal.

    The opening images of the film displays real life footage of slavery in Brazil, of the sugar-mills, where the origins of Brazilian society are thought to have come from.

    The images are immediately effecting, and provide an historical and cultural backdrop upon which the film can build over, depicting a new Brazilian society that has not altogether eloped and emancipated itself from the old, allowing there to be a passageway for the viewer to see the intrinsic connection between past and present.

    Neighbouring Sounds then drops us into the centre of a middle-class suburban housing residency, it's modern, clean and diverse; a seeming flagship for a prospering Brazil.

    Beyond the haven of white walls and swimming pools lies the expansive vista that displays the city of Recife, with its high... www.ravechild.co.uk
  • comment
    • Author: doesnt Do You
    Being not only a Brazilian but a northeaster as well, I have to tell you that it is strange to see that so many people around the world actually enjoyed this film.

    I though to be very concerned to those who would understand the language, the situations and the causes of all of this. Well, seems that I was wrong and the themes exposed here are bound to be more universal than I expected.

    Every moment of Kleber Mendonças'Neighboring Sounds could be opened for discussion as subject of semiotics. The symbolism is so present and so meaningful that I was overwhelmed.

    A truly masterpiece, that have to be seen with very opened eyes.
  • comment
    • Author: Munimand
    The film reminded me of "The Class" (France 2008). Just change the school by a handful of houses in the same street. The relationships among the characters are unveiled as the story goes, there is nothing special about any of them, there is nothing special going on in theirs lives. It looks like a very casual portrait of any given month in Recife.

    People made a lot of fuss about the private security guys that show up, about the claustrophobic feeling, about the master/servant relation depicted all the time, but in fact, it is not big deal. It is no news. It is simply how life is down here.

    For a foreigner it may look strange, odd, annoying, maybe violent, but down here it is our daily life. That's how things are. In that sense the film is dull. Didn't bring us anything new, didn't show anything we are not used to see daily around us.
  • comment
    • Author: Agantrius
    maybe that'd be too harsh but have to be honest and say it was the one the most boring movies I've seen; and almost 2.5hrs literally nothing happens, so flat, no flavor, no character analysis, no capturing story at all. I agree not all movies have to be so full of happenings, actions, etc. but then you have to give something else to audiences in exchange; otherwise, what would be the point? I can just watch security cameras in the streets and say "this is life and can be considered as a movie since it truly reflects the life itself" I saw people leaving the theater during the movie; which is not a good sign. I appreciate the attempt of trying to reflect the simple lives of normal people but you gotta be careful and loaded with a full of creative and artistic ideas in order to pull off such a dull story and make it interesting which requires some supreme craftsmanship in all aspects of the art of movie making.
  • comment
    • Author: Dagdage
    Neighboouring Sounds is a film about various people living in this one particular city/neighborhood area and the various problems these people have and the growing suspicion they have against one another in their ongoing story lines and what happens when these suspicions boil over instead of being dealt with right away or at least communicated with one another. It would clearly like to be a great film about the various classes of people that make up a city that has great history and great numbers of both rich and poor people trying to make a home in the same terrain, and to that end it starts out very well.

    Introducing a slew of characters most of whom all live very close to one another--and deftly sketching in the details of their situations and their problems as well as their personalities--the film does a wonderful job introducing you to the world all of its character live in. As the film bounces back and fourth between the four or five plot lines that are unfolding--you get a great sense of who these people are, why they are the way they are, and what keeps these people both optimistic and pessimistic about their lives---you feel like you understand why the stressed out working mom feels hassled beyond belief by the barking dog next door, you understand the great hope that the 2 young lovers have for one another while trying to deal with each other's baggage (her history and his family) you understand the paranoia that this new neighborhood watch captain brings on the citizens whom he is trying to allegedly protect and serve. The scene where the new self appointed neighborhood watch guy tries to charm the stressed out dog hating woman is really good, in fact i would say the self appointed neighborhood watch guy's subplot was probably my favorite part of the film if only because his story seemed to be the most interesting--it seemed to contain the most promise in terms of storyline to be filled in as the movie goes on.

    Unfortunately while the movie goes on, the suspense level that something amazingly bad or something ominous is going on goes on as long as the movie does---the movie keeps heightening the level of suspense we're supposed to feel, goosing the film with quick flashes of a somewhat blurry figure scrambling across the screen at the edge of the frame, or off in the distance, using these various sounds on the soundtrack to suggest that something is about to go down...there's even a good two or three unsettling dream scenes where something completely weird will happen and just when you're saying to yourself What is Happening Now? the film cuts to one of its characters waking up alarmed and somewhat worried about something bad happening in their neighborhood--- this works really really well until it doesn't work...the movie cries wolf once too often to really be effective in the end---there comes a point where you just want to say all right enough premonitions and ominous graffiti signs already---you've earned the right to now scare the crap out of us---but it doesn't--it just keeps going right on along, strongly hinting and suggesting that something horrible is about to happen. with scene after scene of the mere illusion that something wicked this way comes. That the film keeps trying to goose the scares in scene after scene sends the films once captivating energy level down quite a bit---literally it goes from being an engaging and intriguing film to being repetitive and somewhat sleep inducing.

    It seems like what the movie is trying to say with its different plot threads is that everything (esp in a city with lots of people rubbing against each other) is cause for worry--some things seem to be worth the worry, and other things seems nothing more then your overactive imagination and paranoia. (is that soccer ball playing kid trying to spy on the rich tutored girl because he likes her or because he wants revenge for his ran over soccer ball?---is the video on the security camera making the rounds on the internet of this guy being killed cause for severe worrying and an all night neighborhood watch force?---are these dream sequences based on anything beyond the characters various stresses???) I can get behind a premise like that in a movie--but i felt that this one doesn't quite know where to take that specific idea once its more or less laid out except to repeat the idea that anything can be cause for suspicion among a community made up of either strangers or even in a supposed tight knit group of people.

    It'd be nice to report that the movie ends with a fantastic closing scene one that really captures the fear that everyone feels or at least a slam bang scene of violence that proves that something horrible did finally happen--- while the two closing scenes are fine and kind of deliver on that edgy and unnerved feeling the film's been so thoroughly setting up... there's also a sense of that's it? finality to it (much like life itself???)--while the last scene mirrors the first scene nicely enough---i can't quite recommend this if only because i wasn't entirely sure the film worked as a whole. Movie seems to be more about tone and atmosphere then about any specific plot even tho i'd been steadily watching and observing the characters go through their story lines with some interest at least.

    Some people will love the constant quiet paranoia that all the characters keep feeling, and some people will hate the fact that the movie keeps on going with scene after scene of this, but for me i'm not entirely sure that the feeling this movie gives you was one worth sitting thru over 2 hours to feel.
  • comment
    • Author: post_name
    In his daring debut, Kleber Mendonça Filho did not just made a film about Brazilian middle class suburbia but placed the audience right on that street.

    We take part on the daily lives of the residents, their aspirations and challenges as their characters are opened wide for us to study, judge and ponder upon.

    These seemingly ordinary lives that these people lead, experience some sort of change when a street security team is hired to protect them and whilst watching this the question regarding where this is going did pop into my head, it is an area where the new director showed some mastery by not allowing the putting together of the pieces of the puzzle to affect the narrative as we were led to its dramatic conclusion.

    An unusual but stimulating experience.
  • comment
    • Author: Ance
    Main Entry: dull

    Part of Speech: adjective

    Definition: boring, uninteresting

    Synonyms: abused, archaic, arid, big yawn, blah, colorless, common, commonplace, dead, dismal, dreary, driveling, dry, familiar, flat, hackneyed, heavy, ho hum, hoary, humdrum*, insipid, jejune, longwinded, monotonous, oft-repeated, ordinary, out-of-date, plain, pointless, prolix, prosaic, prosy, repetitious, repetitive, routine, run-of-the-mill, soporific, stale, stock, stupid, tame, tedious, tired, tiresome, trite, unimaginative, uninspiring, usual, usual thing, vapid, worn-out

    How anyone can enjoy this is beyond belief. This is without doubt, the most boring film i've seen since Beyond the Hills last Tuesday. It's about nothing, literally nothing. I get what the director is trying to do and say, but it's not interesting to us. I know, I know, thats the whole point. But you might as well watch pigeons fly!!

    So there's loads of daily sounds including dog barks, washing machines etc.... That's not enough to make a film. Those sounds don't even link in. It's woeful. The whole film is moribund. it's 2 hours of waiting for a fire cracker to go off.

    All I can say it's an April Fools. The joke is us for paying to see it

    Woeful
  • comment
    • Author: Wetiwavas
    Any work, be it cinema, book or play, should be 'about' something. There should be some discernible central theme, a thread that is to be followed, a point that is being made. Otherwise, it is no different to standing in the street and watching life pass by at random.

    This film is 'about' nothing. I watched it with my Brazilian wife, having read that it had received a good review in the New York Times. From start to finish, it was a confusing mess of non sequiturs that simply make no sense whatsoever. It is, not to put to fine a point on it, a cinematic turd.

    Don't waste your time, there are far better Brazilian films out there than this.
  • comment
    • Author: Porgisk
    the movie is a waste of time.the director is trying to show desperate minds and alienation of upper-middle class people even though they are living in flats which are too close to each other.some scenes are fine, but they are not enough for a movie.script is poor, and characters are simply running here are there in the movie.
  • comment
    • Author: Wrathmaster
    The short intro, with some black and white photos of Brasil's colonial times, is telling. Straight after, we go into a middle class suburb of Recife (I would have guessed Rio de Janeiro); children playing in little streets and outside places between lots of big apartment buildings. There are various casual portraits of some people who live here; a bored mother and housewife who is much bothered by a barking dog, her daughter and son who are learning Chinese, a rich young man who is newly dating a young woman who once lived in the area, a small group of men who are trying to sell their security services to the people of the suburb, a local thief (or is he is a student, or both?) and the father of the rich young man, who owns most of the property in the suburb.

    At first glance it looks like a broad portrayal of middle class life in Recife, but there are plenty of bigger and smaller details hinting at the state of the people, the street, the suburb, the city and the land, and its past and current issues. The film will give you some feeling impending doom here and there, but the actual thriller elements emerge rather late into the film, and at first only through the dreams and nightmares of some characters. There is no gore, hardly any on-screen violence, but the implied actions still speak for themselves - like neighbouring sounds that can't be ignored. It will make you think, without throwing it in your face. Very good and naturalistic acting, fine cinematography - it's all good.

    A big 8 out of 10.
  • comment
    • Author: Minha
    I don't think this is really a movie; it seems more a very boring and stretched episode of a bad soap opera before the editing to fit a 50 minutes episode. Brazilian TV Globo makes much better episodes of its soap operas, every day, in only 50 minutes, than this pointless group of stories with no meaning at all and very bad acting that goes over and over by 2 and a half hours. The only exception is the brilliant actor Irandhir Santos but in a very small role.

    Some foreign people maybe have seen something interesting about watching the Brazilian life in a regular neighborhood, because they don't know Brazil, but in this case, it is like a mocumentary and it doesn't make it a good film even why almost anything happens in the film, there are better and more interesting neighborhoods to be shown.

    Some critics, obviously friends or friendly with the director, who is a critic too, pointed out some qualities that maybe were all in the intention or in the head of the director but for sure are not in the film. This way of reviewing movies is very common in Brazil, most of "intelectualoides" critics, like the director, prefer to judge the pseudo-ideas behind the movie besides what is really in the screen and how it affects the public. This happens because these people make movies in Brazil with Government money and they don't have the concern of making money with the public of their films, because they make the money in the production, receiving their money as screenwriter, director, producer, etc. This way they are able to do whatever they want with a complete despise by the public opinion and stay happy with the complements of their "intelectualoides" critics and friends in more than one hundred Film Festivals whose juries think like then. The consequence is that it has been a long time since Brazil doesn't receive a decent prize in a decent Festival, besides TROPA DE ELITE in Berlin, that was done by a director who wasn't a critic or "intelectualoide" and was concerned about the public and telling a good story, that is exactly what doesn't exist here. Unfortunately this movie was indicated by Brazil to represent the country in the foreign Oscar e guess what? It was a shame, not even in the eight final possible nominated it was. Very understandable by the way. This director many times showed his despise by the TV Network Globo and now I can understand why. He wanted to work there writing or directing soap operas and he wasn't able to get the job…by this film I can understand why.
  • comment
    • Author: Goltizuru
    "How can you measure progress if you don't know what it costs and who has paid for it? How can the 'market' put a price on things - food, clothes, electricity, running water - when it doesn't take into account the 'real' cost of production?" ― Arundhati Roy

    Directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho, "Neighbouring Sounds" paints a portrait of the director's own hometown. Part Robert Altman ("Kansas City"), part John Sayles ("Sunshine State"), the film is set in the streets of Setubal, a town in one of Brazil's largest cities.

    Mendonca's title may allude to the sounds of urban life, but what he's primarily interested in is the sound of locking doors. Throughout the film, we're constantly reminded of the threat of crime, the fear of intrusion and the possibility of violence. This violence is the film's chief interest, though Mendonca goes to lengths to disguise this fact. Instead, we watch as a series of characters navigate a concrete labyrinth adorned with protective bars, metal grilles, security alarms and cordoned off spaces. We watch as immigrants are hired to tutor children, favela kids are bullied, gangs offer to protect buildings, upper-class women marinade in ennui and various characters reveal insecurities, paranoias and their desire to climb the social ladder. Paradoxically, everyone knows their place, each character deferential to invisibly drawn social lines.

    It's only during the film's climax in which the ten black-and-white photos which open the picture (of fenced off countrysides, happy workers, angry villagers, palatial villas etc) are explained. Here Francisco Oliveira, a patriarch who got rich selling sugar and who now owns most buildings in Setubal, is implicated in the town's bloody history, a history which leaks into the present and mutates into modern forms of literal and psychic violence. Class divisions and lines of demarcation forged Oliveira's wealth, gave birth to Setubal, and now, in the present, separate neighbour from neighbour, brother from brother. Setubal may seem peaceful, but the ramifications of land-grabs, slavery and class warfare are everywhere.

    Unsurpsiingly, Mendonca is also preoccupied with issues of race. The condos and upper-middle class apartments of Setubal are populated by pale, white skinned men and women, whilst the housemaids, valets, janitors and street urchins are all various shades of brown or black. The classes put on happy faces, but key each other's cars and engage in other covert or overt forms of disrespect. Of course capitalism has always pitted the middle against the lower class, the lower against the middle and both against foreigners. But in Setubal, iron bars seem to keep everyone firmly apart. They're all jailed, eyeballing one another through cages. Only rarely does contact and so conflict arise. And when it does, blood spills.

    8/10 – Worth one viewing. See "Cutter's Way".
  • comment
    • Author: Ichalote
    Interesting. Strange. The editing. The framing. I like it but I'm not sure if I love it. It's quite unique and daring but at the same time it doesn't touch me deep. It has both mature and amateur touch that I don't trust the filmmaker. The use of sound, for example, seems too manipulative at times. The film has many suggestive elements conveying how the film is more than what it seems on the surface, but I'm not sure if they're just clever ploys for critics. I'm not really keen on the ending. Things come together too much. I rather see it ends with a more open-ended approach.

    However, it's worth seeing and it's likely to stay in your mind for sometime, which is a good thing.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Ana Rita Gurgel Ana Rita Gurgel - Ana Lúcia
    Caio Almeida Caio Almeida - Namorado
    Maeve Jinkings Maeve Jinkings - Bia
    Dida Maia Dida Maia - Marido
    Felipe Bandeira Felipe Bandeira - Nelson
    Gustavo Jahn Gustavo Jahn - João
    Irma Brown Irma Brown - Sofia
    Mauricéia Conceição Mauricéia Conceição - Mariá
    Graziela Santos da Rocha Graziela Santos da Rocha - Neta 1
    Gabriela Santos da Rocha Gabriela Santos da Rocha - Neta 2
    Júlio Rodrugues Júlio Rodrugues - Vendedor de CD
    Rubens Santos Rubens Santos - Adailton
    Bruno Negaum Bruno Negaum - Pacote
    Arthur Canavarro Arthur Canavarro - Romualdo
    Allyson Arruda Allyson Arruda - Vendedor de CD 2
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