Thursday, December 07, 2006

KBT Presents: NABOER (Next Door)

If there is one director who can turn the intersection between sex and violence into visual poetry it is David Lynch. Even if his films do not always make sense on a conscious or literal level, they have a way of burrowing under your skin, like ants making fleshy tunnels from the heart to the brain. An equally visual, but coming from a more subjective POV is director Darren Aronofsky. His first two films (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) are function like vices around the skull squeezing you into the characters' central nervous systems and making the overall experience more than a little queasy.

Norwegian director Pål Sletaune straddles the middle ground of these two distinct styles of filmmaking and melds some pretty edgy cinema (Folks, *this is your warning* - I mean it, while also desiring to remain vague as to why) with cinematography beautiful enough to be worthy of superstar cinematographer Christopher Doyle (2046, Hero, Dumplings) or Steven Soderbergh. The moving camera is a character unto itself as it stalks the halls of Jon's apartment building and peaks around corners and into the neighbors labyrinth of darkly painted walls. Voyeuristic in the extreme, the camera is determined not to look away from more than a few dark places.

You will see that I'm aiming to describe mood here rather than story, which is best left unspoiled. Basically, while Jon is dealing with his girlfriend cheating on him, then dumping him for another man, he is seduced by his two attractive next door neighbors. Jon is working out issues of frustration and obsession and trying to keep a lid on his emotions by creating pocket of isolation in his apartment.

Obsession is a fascinating subject to explore (Just ask Edgar Allen Poe) and Naboer covers ground from Roman Polanski's Death and the Maiden to David Lynch's Blue Velvet to Nicolas Winding Refn's Fear X. Those films and this one are worthy pieces of cinema, even if they occassionally make you wish to cover your eyes, or psychologically duck and cover.


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