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."
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.