Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

The Man Next Door Movie


The movie, “The Man Next Door” is an Argentinian film directed by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn and released in 2009. The movie features an interaction of two neighbors; Victor and Leonard, who belong to entirely different social field. The movie recreates this old idea of curious indiscretion between people. From this fact, it manages to reflect a society that, divided by social and cultural walls, is afraid to look at the other and differentiate the true values of the human being (MUBI, 2010). It won an award for best photography at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the award for best Argentine film at the 2009 Mar de Plata Film Festival.


With the deafening sound of hammer blows breaking a wall, two simultaneous images are surprising, dividing the screen into two opposite faces that show the opening of a hole in the wall. In this way, the directors, from the first scene of the film, install in the spectators a story with two antagonistic views of the same neighborhood community.

Víctor, one of the protagonists of the film, tries to make a window in the dividing wall that he shares with his neighbor Leonardo, the other protagonist. From this fact, as simple as it is provocative, the harmony of coexistence between neighbors is put into play and the conflict arises (Film Affinity, 2021). That window becomes a symbolic object of interference and intimidation of Leonardo and his family, made up of his wife and daughter.

The plot of the film takes place in an upper middle class neighborhood with the interaction of two neighbors who supposedly belong to the same social class. Leonardo is an architect, a successful university professor, he designs furniture specifically chairs, he speaks several languages, he belongs to a high social class, he communicates with the outside world, both socially and professionally, through modern technological tools, his professional image is carefully detailed on a web page extensively studied through television interviews. He clearly represents a sophisticated, bourgeois intellectual who brags about his actions and is very sure of his social position (Film Affinity, 2021). Not coincidentally, he lives with his family in an emblematic property in the city of La Plata: the Curutchet house. The house is visited daily by architecture students, passers-by and tourists, that is to say that Leonardo coexists with the daily exposure of the house to strangers, curious people, etc. This is how Leonardo himself is seen, on several occasions, enjoying these visits with touches of good humor, as long as everything is under control.

In contrast, Victor is flat, direct, emotional, spontaneous and authentic. The only property he shows is his black truck, his interior featuring exaggerated, kitsch decor. It is not known what he works for and lives with his uncle who is differently abled. He shows a vulgar vocabulary and a somewhat grotesque behavior, he is unprejudiced, overwhelming, sure of himself, but compared to Leonardo, Victor appears as a less educated character belonging to a lower social class.

Thus, the characterized characters represent different social worlds, which vary according to their position and it would be natural to infer that both manifest different “habitus” in that the social practices, unconsciously incorporated throughout the stories of each character, manifest differences in the perception, actions and thought, this is a product of the internalization of social structures (MUBI, 2010). Thus, through the “habitus”, we have a world of common sense, a social world that seems evident and allows us to identify Victor with less social, cultural and symbolic capital compared to Leonardo’s accumulated capital. If we establish as symbolic capital that which has been acquired by the recognition of the social and institutional environment, for example, in this case the university degree that Leonardo possesses gives him prestige and social recognition. The academic titles represent true symbolic property titles that give the right to advantages of recognition, officially establish and guarantee known and universally recognized ranks.

The Bourdian capital we are talking about is a capital of worldly relationships that is evident between Victor and Leonardo from their positions in the social field. Both bid to obtain a differential return on symbolic capital (force exerted by the protagonists to value what is at stake in that field), with strategies that respond to the lifestyle, which in each one works with different amounts, so to say it, of legitimized capital, in the hegemony, of the social environment. A power struggle is established that is not perceived as such but as a demand for recognition, obedience, between one character and another.

By focusing on the characters, Victor (the other) responds to a totally different lifestyle than Leonardo. The difference between the social positions to which Victor and Leonardo belong is based on the accumulation and distribution of the specific capital that is at stake in that field.


It is important to keep in mind that the focus of the camera is almost always on Leonardo and his surroundings, so the dynamics of the film develop from the visualization of the problem that Leonardo must solve. Víctor initiates the aforementioned problem by opening the window to “catch a few rays of sunshine”, furthermore, he does not see it as a source of conflict, because Leonardo’s house is, on the one hand, publicly visited daily due to its importance; architectural and, on the other hand, it has large windows that allow a view from the many other windows of the building opposite (Guerini, 2018). From there, processes are initiated that, due to their development and the methodologies used to manage them, lead to results that can deepen the crisis and/or generate changes in the relationship between neighbors that hinder a consensus.

It is Víctor who seeks dialogue, although he justifies his action based on grounds far removed from rationality, this is a way of acting without thinking, without even contemplating the law, he is only motivated by the personal and domestic need to have light, and from the Common sense takes your neighbor’s acceptance for granted. But, it is in this character that one glimpses a communicative rationality, because Víctor goes in search of a linguistic understanding, assuming without knowing it that they share the same code between the two, convinced that it will be possible reach an agreement.

Although language has a central role in the search for consensus as a way of resolving conflicts, it is necessary that rational individuals, who initiate a joint action of dialogue. For this same reason, it is impossible to resolve this conflict that is transformed throughout the film into an ethical dilemma in the minds of the viewers. The directors show the behavioral aspects of the protagonists, putting the public in the dilemma of taking a position between one or the other of the characters.

The outcome of the film clearly shows who is who in the decision-making process in the face of a tragic event: the robbery. Víctor shows a positive attitude towards the situation when he foils the robbery that is committed at his neighbor’s house. It is in this action that he is fatally wounded, a situation that Leonardo takes advantage of, who was never interested in Víctor as a person, to precipitate the resolution of the conflict, leaving him to die (Guerini, 2018). However, Victor acts out of duty by confronting the thieves at his neighbor’s house. According to Kant, it is a morally good act because one proceeds according to duty without any inclination, that is, in Victor’s moral conscience there is a categorical imperative (he knows no conditions) that leads him to act according to the subjective principle of the act.

However, the last scene, heartbreaking as it ends with the game that has taken the spectator to the limit, who cornered has no way to escape and must take a final position of the type: whose side are you on? In this part we witness a display of moral values such as solidarity, the courage that drives Víctor to help his neighbors. It is almost impossible for the viewer not to feel identified with Victor’s heroic and selfless act, and internally repudiate Leonardo’s selfish, insensitive and inhuman attitude.

If we reflect on the antagonistic behavior of the characters in The Man Next Door, we cannot avoid making moral judgments that are inevitably associated with feelings. In this same reflective direction, where the emergence of language in human evolutionary history is born in the operational field of mutual acceptance (love) between primates, and what is truly The human being is constitutively founded with the basic participation of emotion and, in particular, of love, which results in a conversation.


Film Affinity. (2021). The man next door (2009). FilmAffinity.

GUERINI, E. (2018, August 29). “Maybe we are just mean”: Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn on the humour in their Venice title ‘My masterpiece’. Screen.

MUBI. (2010). Beautiful, Interesting, and Incredible Cinema: The man next door.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics