These days, onscreen sex featuring an actress in her eighth decade is unimaginable, but not outside America. Marcos Bernstein’s directorial debut, The Other Side of the Street, reminds us that life exists past our 60th birthday. Regina, a divorced grandmother, spends her lonely days smoking cigarettes, scooping up her dog’s poop and rooting criminals out of her Copacabana neighborhood. She’s part of “the service,” a network of snoopy old ladies who peer from their apartment windows, hoping to spot a crime. When Regina sees a killer in the act, it changes her life dramatically.
Fernanda Montenegro is luminous as Regina and Raul Cortez plays her murder suspect-suitor with graceful charm. The movie makes a smooth transition from Rear Window-ish thriller to a heartfelt tale of self-discovery in old age. Never patronizing in his approach, Bernstein understands, despite his youth, that the search for meaning endures, even into the twilight of life.
Opens February 25 at Quad Cinema