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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. Written by
O Som ao Redor
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.
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