Reviewed by Alice Tynan

The Man Next Door (El hombre de al lado) is a black comedy about two men and a window. Not just any window. A ghastly window looking into the famous Curutchet House, in Buenos Aires, and the backdrop to this tale of neighbourhood etiquette.

The story begins with a hole in a wall, a hole that sparks a feud of uncommon proportions between neighbours, Leonardo (Rafael Spregelburd) and Victor (Daniel Araoz). Their unique relationship becomes the stage for the film’s complex dealings with human behaviour, as well the basis for laughs. Victor’s master manipulation borders on artform, pushing boundaries and tweaking anxieties in a way audiences are sure to find refreshingly original.

Whilst the pace is at times a little slow, the film’s awkward and unusual humour suffices to drive audience attention through to the last scene without a trace of boredom.

If not a comedy enthusiast, prepare to be captivated by the film’s artistic and architectural beauty. The scenes filmed within the house are a designer’s dream, an exploration into form and colour, engaging the senses with every object on set. Each frame mimics the insides of interior decorating and design magazines. In fact the whole film seems to possess this mood of experimentation with shape, sound and light. From content to cinematography, directors, Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, have ensured that all 103 minutes be a journey into visual and aural space.

Be warned however, despite its seemingly simple plot, the Sundance Award Winner is shaded by a darkness that makes it at times unnerving. Writer, Andres Duprat, has woven an interesting social commentary riddled with disconnection and angst, which perhaps is the film’s true strength.

Guaranteed to inspire thought long after the credits have rolled.

By Sophia Dakis

The Man Next Door (El hombre de al lado) is screening:

Sydney – Sunday 15th May – 6:45pm (Palace, Norton St)

Saturday 21st May – 9:15pm (Chauvel, Paddington)

Melbourne – Tuesday 17th May – 8:45pm (Palace, Como)

Saturday 21st May – 9:15pm (Kino Cinemas, Melbourne)

Brisbane – Thursday 19th May – 6:30pm (Palace Centro Cinemas)

Perth – Saturday 28th May – 2:15pm (Cinema Paradiso)

Adelaide – Sunday 29th May – 11:00am (Palace, Nova Eastend)

Canberra – Sunday 29th May – 4:30pm (Greater Union, Manuka)