- Mixing elements from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura and Blow-Up, Marcos Bernstein’s deliberately paced The Other Side of the Street 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: Brazilian Rear Window-Blow-Up mix mostly feels like a made-to-order showcase for veteran Fernanda Montenegro
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 (L’Avventura, 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 atmosphere essential for a tale about longing and loneliness.
One-woman neighborhood watch 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)
Dir.: Marcos Bernstein.
Scr.: Marcos Bernstein and Melanie Dimantas.
Cast: Fernanda Montenegro. Raul Cortez. Laura Cardoso. Luiz Carlos Persy. Miguel Lunardi. Caio Ramos. Eliana César.
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The Other Side of the Street reviewed at the AFI FEST.
The Other Side of the Street movie cast info via the IMDb.
Fernanda Montenegro The Other Side of the Street movie image: Passaro Films.
“The Other Side of the Street: Brazilian Hitchcock-Antonioni Mix Memorable as Fernanda Montenegro Showcase” last updated in May 2020.