During the COVID pandemic, everyone withdrew into their homes, and social interaction came to a virtual standstill. But in the neighborhood in Durban, South Africa, where filmmaker Jethro Westraad comes from, this was hardly any different from the normal situation.
He realizes this when he returns home during the lockdown and sees with outsider’s eyes the way his neighbors live in isolation, barricaded behind high walls with barbed wire, security cameras and vicious guard dogs. There’s no opportunity to make contact with the neighbors—so Westraad tries it via the intercom.
In his short, vignette-like film Love, Your Neighbour, Westraad shows how living in a high-security bubble fuels racist prejudices and fear of the other. The tone is light and ironic, but the message is serious. The title can be read as the loving conclusion to an appeal to neighbors, but without the comma as a commandment with biblical connotations.