Love Among The Ruins
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 08/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Regina (the Bette Davis of Brazil, Fernanda Montenegro) lives alone, is getting on in years, has a trusty dog and a big yen to be Miss Marple as a member of Brazil's Senior Watchdog Service: a nifty idea that keeps seniors involved and utilizes their already well developed tendencies for snooping.
Armed with her binoculars and sitting in her armchair, Regina witnesses, what she thinks is a murder across the street in another apartment...performed by the mysterious, ex-judge Carmago (Raul Cortez). So what does she do? She begins to date Carmago in order to get the lowdown. Her investigation clouds her romance or vice versa and Regina is conflicted: is Carmago her Love... Don Juan or Jack the Ripper?
Director Marcos Bernstein does a very good job at keeping the action subtle and thoughtful but the real success of "The Other Side of The Street" is its almost revolutionary central theme: seniors can have and enjoy Love and Sex...there is life and more importantly love after 60 afterall. Imagine that.
A Quiet Little Film about the Isolation of Aging
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Writer Marcos Bernstein ('Central Station') takes a step forward as Director of yet another soulful and touching film about aging and the loneliness and isolation that surrounds our older generations. Together with Melanie Dimantas he has written a story that is not only intriguing as a suspense tale, but it is also one of the most moving love stories between older people that has graced the screen.
Regina (Fernanda Montenegro) lives alone with her devoted dog Betina, her only visits to family are with her grandson: she rarely sees her son's home as her son is still friends with her estranged husband. Regina has found a hobby to fill her days - she has become a volunteer police informant for the Copacabano police, visiting bars where drug deals are rampant and then reporting the findings to the police. Her high-rise apartment faces another like apartment across the street and she spends her idle hours watching her neighbors through binoculars, not in a snoopy way but as a manner of relieving her boredom of solitude.
One evening she observes an older man give an lethal injection to his wife, and thinking she has observed a murder she notifies the police who respond, only to discover the older man is Judge Carmago (Raul Cortez) and thus dismiss the intrusion as a false call by Regina. Regina knows what she saw and despite the abuse she receives from the policeman Alcides (Luiz Carlos Persy) she is intent on investigating the 'crime'. She stalks Carmago and eventually Carmago confronts her behavior, stating that if she has questions of him she should join him for lunch or dinner. The two lonely older people gradually get to know each other and a relationship ensues that surprises them both. Regina's shell of emotional protection is cracked and the two explore the vulnerability of feelings usually reserved for the young. How Regina's life is altered by this adventure makes for an illuminating finale to the film.
Fernanda Montenegro is luminous as Regina. She is an actress in her late seventies who is able to invoke tremendous responses from an audience, so multifaceted are her talents. Raul Cortez likewise is a veteran actor (his first film was in 1957) who has depth of character and technique that makes his role gleam. This film is a brave one, a film unafraid to address delicate issues about love among the elderly and achieve a stunning level of dignity and discretion that binds the viewer to the story. The atmosphere is enhanced by the minimal music score from Guilherme Bernstein Seixas and by the clever cinematography of Toca Seabra. This is a lovely film that should appeal to all audiences, especially those who fell in love with Fernanda Montenegro in 'Central Station'. Grady Harp, April 06
A Must-See "Autumnal" Thriller/Love Story
Kardius | USA | 04/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Other Side of the Street starts off as a Brazilian take on "Rear Window," with Fernanda Montenegro, playing Regina, an elderly woman who has isolated herself from family and friends, using her binoculars to spy on her neighbors on the building across the street. She claims to have seen an elderly judge kill his wife, but when the police decides to drop the investigation, she takes manners in her own hands.
However, instead of a whodunit, what we get to see is an intelligently and touchingly depicted relationship between two lonely, elderly persons trying to connect with someone else while living in a big, violent, youth-oriented city. (Although there is still some suspense.) Fernanda Montenegro, of "Central Station" fame, is simply superb as Regina. As in that movie, she plays a woman who starts off being selfish and unlikable, but who thaws out and makes us care for her by the end of the film."