Sidewalls (Medianeras): The Movie


One weekend, while going through the Foreign Films category on Netflix, hubby P came across the Spanish movie  “Medianeras”, literally meaning “Sidewalls“. Unlike the front or the back of buildings that have balconies or grand entrances or decorative motives, sidewalls are the useless parts, at best used as a canvas for advertising something.

Set in Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, one of the largest cities in the world, the movie begins with pointing out a striking correlation between the architecture of the city with dissimilar buildings, and its inhabitants. We create cities in our own image which reflect our own lives – unplanned, chaotic, contradictory, hostile, unpredictable. These cities charm us, yet there is the all pervasive “urban loneliness”- the isolation in a big crowd and an eerie silence within amongst loud noise without !

With this backdrop is the story of the protagonists of the movie, Martin and Mariana. They are both loners and have their phobias or neuroses they are dealing with. Martin is a web designer and most of the last decade has been a denizen of cyberspace, locked up in his tiny “shoe box” apartment. It is similar to Marianas apartment in the neighboring building who moved in after her failed relationship. She is an architect by qualification but is decorating shop windows. They both need love but the feeble attempts they make at attaining it only proves what misfits they are amongst the ‘regular’ lot! It wont take long to realize that they both, however, could be such perfect compliments to one another, only if they meet. But how?

Medianeras Martin and Mariana
Martin and Mariana cross paths living in the same block, never to meet…

They decide to break open small windows in their sidewalls to let some sunshine into their dark and dingy homes. How does that change things? Watch the movie to find out 🙂

There are a few very interesting themes running in the film contemporary to our generation: the ever-growing big cities with the changing (not ‘evolving’) architecture, its sure impact on peoples lifestyles and lives, technology and internet that made the world a global village keeping us apart, and the search for love.

The movie is the Director Gustavo Tarreto’s debut feature, based on his 2005 short film based on the same name. There are very few characters. Most of the film is a voice over as the thoughts of the two main characters which makes it very easy to identify with them in a short time. Its a cleverly made film with subtle humor and a delightful ending.

If you are one of those, like me, who are constantly looking for good cinema, and secretly wish for happy endings, this one is for you!

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