Vecinos [subtitled]


“Vecinos” means “neighbors” in Spanish.

The basic plot of Vecinos is that a partially dressed thirty year old man inadvertently locks himself out of his apartment and knocks on the door of his neighbor seeking help. She is a late middle-aged woman.

It’s immediately obvious that she is trying to keep him there as long as possible, as she makes excuses about the phone being out of order, and a locksmith being a bad idea because they’d charge extra this time of night, and “Why don’t you have a cup of coffee?,” etc. He eventually shows a little impatience and annoyance, but really seems kind of slow to pick up on the fact that she’s intentionally stalling.

The question then becomes, is she a) trying to seduce him, b) just a lonely person who craves someone’s company without it necessarily being a sexual thing, or c) intending to murder him or something violent like that (which seems the least likely of the three, given the feel of the film)?

I don’t fully understand how the story then develops. He borrows money from her to use for a pay phone, but instead of calling a locksmith or calling someone to see if he can stay at their place for the night or something like that, he calls his mother and his girlfriend, both out of town, and has unsatisfying conversations with each without mentioning anything about being locked out. He then wanders off into the night.

Later he’s shown returning to the woman’s apartment, though it’s not entirely clear if that’s really happening, or she or he is imagining it.

Anyway, I think the answer to the question is ‘b.’ There’s really nothing ominous in her behavior toward him, and it’s never overtly sexual. She has a full closet of men’s clothes, and she’s crying and sad when alone, indicating she’s lost a husband, lover, son, or something like that.

It’s interesting, because at least as often as her behavior toward him can be interpreted as flirtatious it is more maternal. And then he calls both his mother and girlfriend and doesn’t get his needs met from either, and so returns to her. So it’s like what they’re both lacking is in some gray area between those two types of relationships.

I don’t know that I got a whole lot out of it, but Vecinos is an OK little film.

6 thoughts on “Vecinos [subtitled]

  1. Nomade Films February 11, 2018 / 4:34 PM

    Thanks for taking your time in writing about this short film I did many years ago. Where did you find it? Just curious. Regards, Marcelo Mosenson


    • Philo February 11, 2018 / 8:04 PM

      Hi Marcelo. About a decade ago, there were several years where I watched a huge number of films on the Sundance and IFC cable channels. (The date on the postings in this blog is when I happened to post them here, but many of these pieces I wrote years earlier.) Since then their programming completely changed, but back then they showed almost exclusively indie and foreign films and shorts. The full length films I wrote about came from both of those channels about equally, but if I remember correctly maybe 90% of the shorts were on IFC. I think once a month they’d run a “Short Film Showcase” of an hour’s worth of shorts. In all likelihood, that’s where I saw “Vecinos,” on the IFC network.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nomade Films February 11, 2018 / 8:59 PM

        Yes it was certainly on IfC, are you still writing about movies?


      • Philo February 11, 2018 / 9:34 PM

        Oh yes, just not at that extreme a level of volume. From about 2009 to 2011 or 2012 I was probably watching and writing about 20-25 films a month (counting both full length movies and shorts). Since then it is probably more like 2-4 a month.

        I created this blog (and a similar one on books) in October 2014. For the first few months I was just uploading all those pieces I’d written long ago. (Most of them had been posted on sites that are now defunct.) But the ones I’ve uploaded since then were all current; they are all new pieces I wrote and uploaded right after seeing the film, usually within a few days. So I’m very much still at it and still enjoying the chance to think and write about movies.


      • Nomade Films February 12, 2018 / 11:52 AM

        Hi again. I like very much the way you write. Do you think you could write about a feature film I did a few years ago. The reason why I am asking this is because I will show a retrospective of my work in UK and I don’t have a English piece about this work. On the other hand, may I know your name? Is this your work or is it just a hobby? If that were the case yo should be doing it professionally. In any case, thanks again. It was a pleasure learning about your work. Regards, Marcelo Mosenson


      • Philo February 13, 2018 / 2:19 AM

        Thanks for the kind words Marcelo. I am somewhat open to the notion of writing about films for pay, but my hesitation is that the reason I enjoy doing this is that I can be as subjective (and self-indulgent) as I feel like in any given piece, really just sharing whatever a movie happened to make me think about and feel, like if I were conversing with a friend after seeing a movie. Were I instead writing movie reviews as a profession, I feel like I’d have to be in a different mode. I’d have to always keep in mind what readers want, what whoever’s paying me wants, whether what I write is covering everything a conventional review is expected to cover, etc. I have misgivings that it wouldn’t be fun anymore (which I suppose is almost always a concern when contemplating taking something that is currently a positive in your life and seeking to monetize it).

        So if the opportunity to write about movies for pay presented itself, I’d certainly consider it and I might well give it a shot, but not without some hesitancy depending on the details.

        But as far as writing about your film that you mentioned, I would certainly be interested and I’m flattered that you bring it up. Of course I can’t guarantee I’ll like it, but I’ll give my honest take on it like I would any other film I watch and write about.

        I’m sending you a message at the Nomade Films blog so we can communicate privately.


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