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2013

El Hombre de al Lado 2009 - Curutchet House

© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales
© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales

To say this film is about a dispute between neighbours would be to undersell it completely. When one of the houses in question is Le Corbusier's Casa Curutchet and the two parties represent polar ends of the social spectrum – a pretentious, supercilious businessman and his crude, slightly menacing neighbour, this Argentinian film takes the premise to a whole other level. 

 

© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales
© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales

Interestingly the house plays itself - a famous building that designers make pilgrimage to see - but has it occupied by a successful furniture designer Leonardo (the businessman, played by Rafael Spregelburd) and his family, who on the surface only just tolerate the interest but privately quite enjoy the notoriety. Until, of course, the dispute with the neighbouring Victor (Daniel Aráoz) escalates and the constant scrutiny becomes oppressive. As the story develops however, more is revealed of each character and we come to question who is in the wrong and wonder at how two people can miscommunicate so effectively.

© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales
© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales

We get to see a good deal of the house, particularly the entrance ramps and first storey terrace, which provides an excellent study of the three dimensionality, the framing of external spaces and the interlocking volumes, for which the house is renown. Even if you are unfamiliar with the building, the house is clearly the work of a design pioneer and this authentic genius underscores Lenardos deficiencies as the film progresses - his unfounded arrogance, his ineffectuality and eventually his cowardice is contrasted against Victor's up front familiarity, and in the end, reliability.

© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales
© Aleph Media & Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales

The house, located in La Planta Buenos Aires, actually accommodates the Buenos Aires professional association of architects, the Colegio de Arquitectos and is open to the public for tours.

 

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