A black mother moves into a new preponderantly white neighbourhood. With all the killings and assaults on black lives happening around the state she is decided to take somewhat of a rather strange and straightforward approach of going from door to door followed by her two boys to introduce themselves to the neighbours.
E. G. Bailey’s ‘New Neighbors‘ falls like a harsh critique over racism. The film has a great talent of going on a deep exploration of the emotional universe of both black common families and of the white individual confident and comfortable with their condition.
The characters are superbly designed: the mother, overly concerned with the fate of her children, like any mother would be, maybe just a bit paranoid but nevertheless justifiable, with a tendency to ‘oversell’ the image of her sons; the two boys, adolescents, clean sportswear making it hard for their true personality to get through at a first impression; neighbour no.1, middle age, with a tendency to a spiky, caustic attitude (meeting the new neighbours appears to barely make any difference); neighbour no. 2, expansive tolerant personality nevertheless with a saturated tint of cautiousness. All these personages collide into this neighbourhood microcosmos, making things feel a bit tensed, a bit forced and in the end, at the edges of meeting each other, a bit racist too, on both sides: black and white. It is just as if humanity bends itself to introspection judging itself for what it is. ‘New Neighbours’ is very delicate and subtle in its approach but it does have its rough parts as well. Humanity is egocentric, paranoid, cautious and embarrassingly striving – the outcome of moment when the black mother tells neighbour no. 2, a white mother, that maybe their kids could play together sometimes only to reveal that her child is a lot smaller than the two adolescents is memorably awkward.
E. G. Bailey proves a rare talent of handling his characters and their psychologies, making a fine biopsy of society. ‘New Neighbours’, also a Sundance Official Selection, has received several TMFF Awards: WINNER of Best Film Of April, Director of April 2017 (E. G. Bailey), Actress of April (Sha Cage) and Cinematographer of April (Anton Shavlik).
A really outstanding work with such a complex theme and such a simple script. Brilliant job!