Winner, FIPRESCI Award, Rotterdam Film Festival

A dazzling ensemble drama, Neighbouring Sounds is set among a handful of residents in a middle-class street in the northern Brazilian city of Recife. Focusing on the appearance of a gang of private security guards who offer householders the promise of protection, writer/director Kleber Mendonça Filho offers revealing fragments of a society frayed by paranoia.

A young man wakes up to find his girlfriend’s car has been broken into. A mother struggles to sleep, disturbed by the barking of guard dogs next door. An ageing patriarch seeks refuge from the tumult of the ever-changing city in the rural peace of his one-time plantation hideaway.

The results thrillingly defy categorisation, but what emerges under Filho’s precise, quietly virtuoso direction is a film of novelistic richness and sly provocation; a kind of urban horror story about the fear of violence that ripples under the fragile poise of everyday middle-class life in Brazil. This is a directorial debut of astonishing assurance.

Edward Lawrenson, BFI London Film Festival