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Sidewalls 2011

Sidewalls | Medianeras


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Buenos Aires in times of virtual love.

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About the Sidewalls 💬

  • In Buenos Aires, a city of three million people Martín and Mariana live just walls apart and love all the same things. They're destined for each other. They just haven't met yet...

SIDEWALLS is the story of Mariana (Pilar López de Ayala), Martín (Javier Drolas) and the city.

''When will we be a wireless city? What geniuses blocked the river with buildings and the sky with wires? Are all those kilometers of wire there to unite us or to divide us? Everyone in his own place. Cellular telephony invaded the world promising to always keep us connected. Text messaging: A new ten-key system that reduces one of the most beautiful languages to a primitive, limited and guttural vocabulary. The future is in fiber optics, say the visionaries. They've announced that we'll be able to heat our homes from our workplaces. Right! And no one will be waiting for us when we get home. Welcome to the era of virtual relationships.''

Pilar López de Ayala as Mariana

''Buenos Aires is growing uncontrollably and imperfectly. An overpopulated city in a deserted country. A city in which thousands of buildings rise into the sky. Arbitrarily. Next to a tall one, a small one. Next to a rational one, an irrational one. Next to a French one, one with no style at all. These irregularities probably reflect us perfectly. Aesthetic and ethical irregularities. These buildings, which adhere to no logic, represent bad planning. Just like our lives: We have no idea how we want them to be. We live as if Buenos Aires were a stopover. We've created a 'culture of tenants'. The buildings are becoming smaller to make space for even smaller ones. Apartments are measured by their number of rooms and range from five rooms with balconies, playrooms, servants' quarters and storerooms to one-room apartments also known as 'shoeboxes'. Just like almost all man-made objects, buildings are made to differentiate between us.''

Javier Drolas as Martín

Martín and Mariana live on the same block, in opposite buildings. But they don't manage to meet each other. They cross each other, not knowing about the other's existence. She goes up the stairs, he goes down the stairs; he gets on the bus, and she gets off the bus. They are at the same video club, but a video rack stands between them; or they sit in the same row at the cinema, but the room is dark. The city brings them together, and, at the same time, brings them apart.

How can you find love when you don't know where to look?


SIDEWALLS is the result of various ideas which, at a point in time that I no longer remember, began to merge. Almost all of them resulted from observing and being curious about Buenos Aires and its modern-day residents.

A short while ago, I read a few lines by Luis Martín-Santos that could have aptly inspired the idea I'm working on: ''...a man is the image of a city and the city a man's entrails turned inside-out. In a city, a man not only discovers his determination as a person and his raison d'être, cities also pose insurmountable obstacles that prevent a man from leading a complete existence.'' Of course, he was a psychiatrist.

I like to think of SIDEWALLS as an urban fable, an artificial and humorous 'construction' of modern life in large cities. In accordance with the film's relationship to architecture, I should say that the foundation of SIDEWALLS consists of four pillars.

1. Cities / Buenos Aires.

A reflection on cities that we create in our own image and that resemble us: chaotic, unpredictable, contradictory, illuminating, impoverished and hostile. The inexplicable part is that it’s a disturbing and attractive city.

2. Urban Loneliness / Collective Neurosis.

A person who shares the building with 50 other people feels lonely. In a subway car, 100 people feel indifference for each other as they return home from work. Instead of calming us down, being surrounded by people makes us extremely nervous. They're strangers, completely foreign to us. Today, it wouldn't surprise me to hear about panic attacks spreading more quickly than the H1N1 influenza virus.

3. Isolation.

Why do we have as many delivery company magnets on our refrigerators as we do friends?

Why has so much technology that was intended to connect us with each other failed to do so? Modernity offers us the perfect trap: comfort, the perfect excuse to lock ourselves inside, isolated and immune. It's a fact: to share important things with each other, we use chat, email or text messaging services.

4. Encounters / Failures. The Search for Love.

''Love is the answer'', as we all know. But it's difficult to find. The protagonists in SIDEWALLS encounter characters they could get together with. They're like gears that you'd think could be put together to make up a well-oiled machine, but when the cogs finally turn, they simply can't be brought into unison. So you have to keep on searching for your missing link, the person you'll work well with.

But how can we find each other with so many obstacles?

Two people who live on the same block and deserve to find each other can spend years not doing so. The protagonists in SIDEWALLS find hope in the darkness. They continue the arduous search for love, despite fears and setbacks.

After all, you can always open a little window in your side wall (medianera) to let a ray of sunshine into your life.

Gustavo Taretto

Sidewalls Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Gustavo Taretto

Writing Credits

Gustavo Taretto


Javier Drolas

Pilar López de Ayala

Inés Efron

Carla Peterson

Rafael Ferro

Adrián Navarro

Alan Pauls

Romina Paula

Music by

Gabriel Chwojnik

Cinematography by

Leandro Martínez

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Countries: Argentina, Spain, Germany

Sidewalls Official Trailer

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