Other Side of the Street
Photos and Video
The Other Side of the Street marks the assured debut of talented Marcos Bernstein, who with this witty and original romantic thriller provides the extraordinary Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro one of her best roles since Walter Salles' Central Station, for which she garnered Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations. Here, Montenegro plays a lonely woman who fills her empty existence providing small services to the police. Through a chain of circumstances she ends up becoming involved with a crime suspect, a retired judge played by the great Brazilian actor Raul Cortez, whom we last saw in Lavoura Arcaica (To the Left of the Father). The film is set in Copacabana, now a popular neighborhood among the elderly, where the architectural marks of the past stand alongside social violence -- and urban chaos borders the legendary Copacabana beach. The two protagonists are old and lonely, yet as Bernstein declares, "I didn't want to make a film about loneliness in old age. And although there is the suspicion of a crime, I didn't want to make it a thriller. To me the film is about the transformations which can take place when two people meet by accident, by mistake, and develop strong emotional ties. I hope it will remain in audience's minds as a film about the possibility of affection, in spite of all our fears and all the risks involved."
Director's Statement Collapse
Over the last few years as a screenwriter, from Foreign Land to Oriundi and Central Station, the focus on the human being is preponderant. On The Other Side of the Street, I intend to follow the same path. The Other Side of the Street deals with sincere feelings with a definite touch of humor. But, unlike Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies, the laughs come from the tender perception of the daily life minutiae and of the small silliness of our attitudes rather than ridiculousness them. Centered on Regina, an active and funny lady for sure, the film will explore what made her estranged from her siblings, family, and friends, and how one can finally find inner peace and reconciliation through love. Even in old age. Very much like Central Station was about a woman forced by circumstances to face separation and rejection when she was young, and how through this experience she becomes sensitive to people around her, The Other Side of the Street is about a woman forced to face her own judgmental character expressed in her detachment and irony, and how in the end she will long for forgiveness: to forgive and to be forgiven. In an era of mockery and sarcasm, her quest is the world's quest for sincerity and true feelings. Aesthetically, we can divide the film in three major movements:
The first one is when Regina is watching the neighborhood. Here, the approach is almost Hicthcockian, precise, intrusive, although a bit detached. More static within each shot in consent with the Regina's life, with more cuts so we are not able to connect to her and avoid voyeuristic feeling. The second one starts when she meets the alleged assassin, and starts getting involved with him. Then, the camera starts to move more musically, on longer and/or moving shots, sensing a growing intimacy and attraction between these two people. Finally, the third movement, when truths should be revealed, and they have to face their acts, the closeness of the shots is necessary, the stillness a requirement to let us feel on its entirety their connection and what is at stake. Also, the lighting should follow precisely, so as to represent the contrasting perspective of the subjective feelings of the characters, as opposed to the objective observation and investigation carried, especially by Regina, throughout the film. Naturally the borders between those movements should be unnoticeable and they shall not replace or obscure the real feelings involved. They shall be simple, slightly enhancing what the characters are experiencing in the film. Summing up, it's not a film of vain technique, but of precise acting and human interaction.
Film Information Collapse
[OTHER] | 2003 | 98 | Narrative Feature
Foreign Title: (O Outro Lado da Rua)
Premiere: North American
About the Director(s)Collapse
Thirty-three-year-old Brazilian Marcos Bernstein cowrote the screenplay for Central Station (1998), which won more than 50 international awards, including Best Foreign Language Film at the 1999 Golden Globes, the Golden Bear at the 1998 Berlinale, and a 1999 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. His first script was for director Walter Salles' Foreign Land (1996), and since then he has written the screenplays for Oriundi (starring Anthony Quinn), Crime Nobre (with Ornella Muti), and The Xango from Baker Street. Bernstein wrote the scripts for the documentaries Pierre Verger, Mensageiro de Dois Mundos, and Filhos de Gandhy, and has also produced documentaries and TV specials. His screenplay for The Other Side of the Street was selected for the 2001 Sundance lab held in Rio de Janeiro and premiered at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival, marking Bernstein's feature directorial debut.