- The Other Side of the Street (2004) movie review: Mixing elements from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura and Blow-Up, Marcos Bernstein’s directorial feature debut partially succeeds as psychological drama and as a showcase for Brazil’s Grand Dame of stage, screen, and television, Fernanda Montenegro.
The Other Side of the Street movie review: Rear Window + Blow-Up mix is made-to-order Fernanda Montenegro showcase
As in the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Rear Window, the amateur sleuth in Marcos Bernstein’s directorial feature-film debut, The Other Side of the Street / O Outro Lado da Rua, believes she has witnessed a murder while spying with binoculars on a neighbor.
In Rear Window, wheelchair-bound voyeur James Stewart has trouble convincing girlfriend Grace Kelly that he has indeed seen Raymond Burr kill his wife. In The Other Side of the Street, we are all left wondering: Has Fernanda Montenegro truly seen a man kill his wife, or has it all been just a figment of the imagination of a lonely, embittered older woman?
Unlike Hitchcock, Bernstein, in true Michelangelo Antonio-style – see L’Avventura and Blow-Up – is less preoccupied with the alleged murder than with the psychological and emotional workings of the two protagonists: A widower (Raul Cortez) who may or may not have killed his ailing (and wealthy) wife and the lonely divorcée (Montenegro) who spends much of her time as a senior-citizen spy for the Rio de Janeiro police.
Bernstein, who co-wrote the screenplay of The Other Side of the Street with Melanie Dimantas, treats his characters with an incisive but compassionate eye, and his direction is for the most part remarkably assured. Missing from this psychological drama, however, is the melancholy mood essential for a tale about longing and loneliness.
Brazilian Grande Dame Fernanda Montenegro
Even so, The Other Side of the Street is well worth watching for its straightforward handling of the issues of aging and alienation in our ever more impersonal world, and for the presence of Brazil’s Grande Dame of stage, screen, and television.
That’s Best Actress Oscar nominee Fernanda Montenegro (Central Station, 1998; co-written by Bernstein), who delivers a strong – if at times a tad calculated – performance as the crusty elderly woman in search of potential criminals as well as a reason to go on living.
The Other Side of the Street / O Outro Lado da Rua (2004)
Director: Marcos Bernstein.
Screenplay: Marcos Bernstein & Melanie Dimantas.
Cast: Fernanda Montenegro. Raul Cortez. Laura Cardoso. Luiz Carlos Persy. Miguel Lunardi. Caio Ramos. Eliana César.
“The Other Side of the Street: Brazilian Hitchcock-Antonioni Mix” endnotes
Best Actress Fernanda Montenegro
The Other Side of the Street won two Cinema Brazil Grand Prizes: Best Actress (Fernanda Montenegro) and Best Supporting Actress (Laura Cardoso).
Additionally, Marcos Bernstein’s psychological drama topped the Best Ibero-American Film category at the Mar del Plata Film Festival, while Fernanda Montenegro was the Best Actress Jury Prize winner at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Fernanda Montenegro The Other Side of the Street movie image: Passaro Films.
“The Other Side of the Street: Brazilian Hitchcock-Antonioni Mix” last updated in September 2021.