Vecinos [subtitled]

Vecinos

“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.