Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, USA, 1920o
A Romeo and Juliet story from the backyards of American tenements from 1920: a wooden fence separates Buster from his beloved in the neighboring house, love messages are exchanged through a hole, which leads to unholy confusion when the bride's tyrannical father and the rest of the parents intervene. Clotheslines, rotating boards and human pyramids help to unite the lovers after all. All authorities get shattered on the way.
Keaton was one of the greatest stars of the silent movie era, after that his movies and his genius got lost and forgotten for more than thirty years. Neighbors is one of the high points of his short film work, which not only abounds in stunning stunts and creatively reused props, but also shows the subversive moment in Keaton's slapstick cascades: basically a single assault on monstrous fathers and on mothers who cooperate blindly with them, on police arbitrariness and its racist logic. Keaton exposes the latter in a sequence that only he could have thought up. How? Take a look for yourself. Whoever has seen it and has a hat, will humbly pull it afterwards.Andreas Furler