We Know Where You Live

By Honora Talbott | Comedy
A Mexican-American couple moves into a trendy, gentrifying L.A. area. But their hipster neighbors aren't what they seem.

A newlywed Latinx couple, Javier and Mariana, moves into a “nice” neighborhood in L.A., snagging a house in an up-and-coming area of the city.

They’re greeted warmly by Kwan and Billi, two hipster neighbors fluent in the signifiers of urban bohemianism and offering themselves as guides to the neighborhood. Keen to make a connection, they arrive at dinner one night, bearing tacos and a succulent for a housewarming gift. But as the night goes on, it becomes clear that the neighbors aren’t as friendly or “woke” as they seem.

Director and comedian Honora Talbott, along with co-writer Bill Posley, has created a comedy with a thriller twist, with a sharp eye for cultural satire and the impact of economic dynamics on social reality.

Sunny and amiable in feel and rhythm with bright cinematography and an almost jazzy score, the film’s wit is found less in slapstick pranks and gags and more in tart, smart writing, which skewers a very specific yet socially recognizable hipster culture fueled by BuzzFeed, Instagram and hashtags — as well as the dynamics of urban gentrification and the resulting displacement of Latino communities in Los Angeles.

Kwan and Billy are played with heightened flair by the film’s co-writers, who capture not just the references to the maker culture, gourmet coffee and DIY fashion of hipsters, but also their sometimes blithe ignorance that underlies their assumptions of how the world operates. When the pair offer up a “ceremony” to “bless the space,” it shows just how goofily self-important the hipsters are — but how also they appropriate cultural traditions for their own, with no sense of history or context.

Even as Mariana lays out just what’s problematic about their ceremony, Kwan and Billi don’t quite get it, even as they talk about “changing the gender dynamic” and give voice to other “woke” sentiments. Ultimately, though, they’re driven by consumerism and entitlement — and just how far they’ll go to achieve peak hipster is both the film’s final punchline and its ultimate satirical move.

“We Know Where You Live” is a funny yet ambiguous title, and the short exploits its ambiguity to hilarious ends — all the way through the credits. Its milieu is specific and narrow, and visually sometimes the film feels equally as circumscribed. But the writing’s intelligence is broad-minded and sharp, especially in its witty, ultimately brutal portrayal of a peculiarly urban cultural clash and what drives it. The struggle is cold-pressed, cold-brewed and cold-blooded indeed.

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