Lumbering rather than moving, Luis Filipe Rocha’s “The Other Side” may have been affecting as a telepic in the not-so-distant past, but this tale of a gay man bonding with his chummy Down-syndrome nephew now seems antique as a humanist drama. Uncharacteristic entry from producer Paolo Branco’s slate presses auds’ buttons (which worked well enough during pic’s local rollout October last year), exudes some classiness and surpasses other Rocha pics such as “Camarate,” but doesn’t match Branco’s art-film standards. Montreal fest prizes for co-leads Filipe Duarte and Tomas Almeida have failed to translate into measurable fest action.
Grieving over his lover’s suicide, Ricardo (Duarte) shelves his gig as a transvestite stage performer and tries to reconcile with his long-estranged, bigoted parents, who spurn him. He finds some solace with sister Maria (Maria D’Aires), whose teen son Vasco (Almeida) refuses to let his condition stop him from being an actor. As Ricardo and Vasco get to know each other, pic begins to suffer from PC dramatics that tend to lessen rather than deepen its impact, though Duarte and Almeida craft subtle, textured characterizations.