7.1 Neighboring Sounds (2012)
7.0 Pictures Of Ghosts
Kleber Mendonca Filho (Brazil, 1968) debuted with documentaries and shorts such as
Vinil Verde/ Green Vynil (2004)
Eletrodomestica/ Appliances (2005),
Noite de Sexta Manhã de Sabado (2006)
and Recife Frio/ Cold Tropics (2009).
O Som ao Redor/ Neighbouring Sounds (2012)
Aquarius (2016) is an overlong quiet melodrama about an existential heroine who survived cancer and refuses to make a change in her life that would destroy the memory of how she lived.
Four decades later, Clara (now played by a different actress) lives alone with her maid Ladjane in the same apartment by the beach. A coach teaches people how to laugh whily lying down one against the other. Clara is one of them. Then she swims. Everybody knows her in the neighborhood. The lifeguard is a particularly good friend. Two young women interview her for a newspaper. She is a famous music critic. They ask her about the transition from LP to digital downloads, and she explains what is beautiful about the physical object, the LP. The real-estate entrepreneur Geraldo and his grandson Diego visit her for a project called "New Aquarius". They want to buy her apartment but, instead, she wants to buy the apartment upstairs that is now vacant. They only need her apartment: they already acquired all the others. She tears up their offer. Her nephew Tomas drives her her brother's place. Tomas is expecting a visit from a new girlfriend named Julia. Clara gives him advice about which music to play to her. She tells Antonio that she refused the offer of the firm. Her brother is visibly worried that she insists on living in that condemned building. She goes out with girlfriends and they gossip. A middle-aged man, an old friend, a widower, invites her to dance. She tells him she lost her husband 17 years earlier. Later they kiss like young lovers. But she tells him that she lost her breast and he withdraws. Back home alone, she listens to an LP and dances alone. The lifeguard talks about the rough life at the beach, and point at a drug dealer on a bike. Daniel, the son of an old neighbor who died after moving out, is angry at her because she didn't move out. He thinks that she's hurting a lot of people by being stubborn. She doesn't forget old Ladjane's birthday and gives her a day off. Diego brings mattresses to the vacant apartments without explaining why. Clara brings flowers to her husband's tomb. As she walks out of the cemetery, she sees caretakers picking the bones from an expired tomb. Her two sons and her daughter Ana visit her with their children. They are worried too that she insists on living in that ghostly building. Ana thinks that the offer is very generous and she should take it. Clara owns five apartments and doesn't need the money. Ana rubs in her face that she left them for two years and their dad raised them alone. But then they hug. At night, Diego throws a party in the apartment upstairs that keeps her awake. She walks upstairs to check what is going on and sees that the mattresses are being used for an orgy. She phones Paulo, a male escort recommended by a friend, and lights up a joint. He comes immediately and they have sex. The following day the stairwell is filthy. The lifeguard Roberval suspects that Clara is hitting on him. The nephew Tomas brings Julia to the beach. We learn that Ladjane lost her son the previous year to a motorcycle accident. Ladjane is celebrating her birthday with friends. Clara hosts Tomas and Julia, and her brother Antonio visits, and they watch pictures of when they were young, including pictures of the ferociously independent aunt Lucia. Ana the daughter brings her baby Pedro over because she fired the nanny. Clara puts Pedro in the stroller and takes him to the beach. When she gets back, she finds a crowd assembled in the vestibule for unknown purposes. Ladjane also tells her that Diego's men burned the mattressese in the courtyard. She confronts Diego who is obviously trying to make her uncomfortable. Diego tells her that he studied and now he will do anything to fulfill his dream, his project. He rubs it in her face that dozens of people are just waiting for her to move out so they can start working at the new project. She despises his kind, educated arrogant rich people, and swears to him that she will only leave the apartment dead. She asks an old friend, Ronaldo, who runs a newspaper, for information about the firm and about Diego. Ronaldo first confesses that his son Ricardo, also an architect, is related to Diego, but then tells her that there are compromising documents about the firm. Her friend Cleide,a lawyer, helps her find them. Clara dreams that she is bleeding from her chest and a black maid is stealing her jewelry. The firm sues her for painting the facade of the building. Two men follow her in the street: they quit the firm because they didn't like its dirty deeds. Four months earlier they delivered termites to two apartments above hers. She calls her lifeguard friend Roberval to enter the apartments, and her lawyer Cleide takes responsibility. Roberval breaks the lock and finds termites spread all over the walls. Clara, Cleide, Tomas and Antonio ask for a meeting with Diego and Geraldo. Clara delivers the incriminating documents and then opens a bag full of termites on their conference table.