Medianeras: Buenos Aires in Times of Virtual Love
This movie (by Gustavo Taretto) is about two people who live in Buenos Aires, Argentina who both have a lot of phobias and fears, live next door to each other but don’t know each other, and are perfect soul mates. It sounds like something a brunette-haired Katherine Heigl would LUV to star in. But it’s actually a nice look at city living and love that could literally be next door.
If you’ve been to Buenos Aires, you’ll recall that its a big, big city with lots and lots of buildings. Everywhere. Not as crazy as São Paulo, but pretty buildinged-up regardless. The shots of the city in the film paint a much darker view of the city I saw. However, I was on vacation in summer: Sunny days, sweltering heat and lots of drinks. The characters in the movie are living their own personal dull versions of hell. Very different versions of BA for sure.
Mariela, the woman, is living alone again after breaking up with her boyfriend of 4 years. She has a couple weird eccentricities, but she’s mostly a sad yet beautiful girl searching for her own Where’s Waldo (yeah, there’s a Where’s Waldo theme. Actually a “Donde esta Wally?” en español). Martín is an agoraphobe who is also a web designer who takes photographs outside as going-outside-therapy. They share a wall and an undying hope for love and life outside their small, caja de zapatos apartments.
It’s definitely a hip indie flick, but a pretty cool one from an exciting Argentinean filmmaker Gustavo Taretto that deals with love in our modern age of connection and technology. We’re so connected through wires and waves and computer screens, that somehow the real world and real people seem too much to handle sometimes, even though you could be having a great time with someone really geographically close to you! Sidewalls is a real good look into quarter-life crisis of 20/30 something Argentineans, because it shows that we all are soooo much more alike than we are different. Everyone sits around on the internet, all over the globe! What a day and age!
Also, the film lacks machismo that seems to plague almost every movie in Spanish I’ve ever seen. There’s no “I’m a man, I can fuck and please any woman I want, even if I have a wife. But if she does, Imma go apeshit!!!” It steps outside of those stereotypes about latin men and women and shows two people just being two people in the world. It’s refreshing.
There is one cringe-worthy part though: In the rolling credits, Mariela and Martín have a semi-big Youtube video of them singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” A great song as noted in the tearjerker Stepmom, but fo real. No more movie montages with that song please. It’s gonna like, turn us all into people who don’t cut our hair and only wear jean skirts. If I EVER make a video like that…or any of you do… we will have hit absolute rock bottom. Way over meth addiction.