By Tracey Chandler, contributing blogger
Winner of Best Film of Mar del Plata Film Festival 2009, World Cinema Cinematography Award for Dramatic Filmmaking premiers in Argentina.
“El hombre de al lado,” (The Man Next Door) written by Andrés Duprat and directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn, is an excellent film not only because of the simple and yet exceptionally well structured plot line, but also because of the brilliantly natural performances given by leading actors Rafael Spregelburd (who plays Leonardo, an incredibly successful architect with a self-designed property that attracts visitors and fans of his work on a daily basis) and Daniel Aráoz (who plays Victor, Leonardo’s next door neighbor, or better said… “El hombre de al lado”).
The film in terms of location and structure is so simple that it would work excellently as a piece of live theatre, just as much as it does on the screen, and it is in this simplicity that “El hombre de al lado” manages to reach an unexpected and dramatic ending. (No more will be said about this…. Go and see it!)
The story follows a few months in the life of Leonardo and his “neighbor from hell,” Victor, from the moment that Victor decides to break through one of the walls in his apartment in order to create a window that looks directly into the living area of Leonardo’s house.
Leonardo and his wife complain about the window and threaten legal action from the beginning of the film to the end, but Victor, despite agreeing to filling in the hole that he has created on a number of occasions, continues to enjoy the light that the hole brings to his home and the view that it gives him of his neighbor’s house.
What is most interesting about the narrative of this film, however, is that basic stereotypes and pre-conceived notions that we all perhaps hold about who is a respectable neighbor and who is a “neighbor from hell” are manipulated and turned on their heads.
Is Victor really the one in the wrong? Is Victor really the neighbor that is causing all of the problems? Is Victor really the neighbor that you shouldn’t trust? Or is it Leonardo; the supposedly hard-working architect, with a wife and child and a well-organized life style?
“El hombre de al lado” is a spectacular Argentine flick, full of moral questions that begin to revolve around inside the audience’s heads as soon as the credits begin to scroll. For this reason Duprat and Cohn’s movie has a lot more to offer than perhaps it appears on the surface.
For only 8 pesos you can see “El hombre de al lado” at the INCAA Gaumont Cinema in Congreso every day at 2pm, 6pm and 10pm. Don’t miss out!
Link to Gaumont page: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/espectaculos/cartelera-cine/PeliculaCineFicha.asp?cine_id=107