Regina, a lonely 65 year old who works on the neighborhood watch for the police in Copacabana, believes to have witnessed a murder in the building across the street, and ends up getting involved with the suspect in a potentially dangerous chain of events that will force her to take stock of her life. Written by
Story of 'Snow White,' an intrepid geriatric police informer
Fernanda Montenegro, the Brazilian national acting treasure who starred in Walter Salles's 1998 international hit, "Central Station," returns in the role of Regina, a long divorced, trim and plucky woman who sees no reason why aging should render people as either "old, crippled or idiots" as she candidly puts it to another older woman.
Like a lot of well off aging women in the area, Regina dutifully walks her dog Betina along Rio's Copacabana Beach each morning and dotes on her preschool age grandson. But she also spends her time these days as one of several volunteer undercover informers in "Senior Service," a special program to assist the local police.
Her code name is "Snow White" and she has never been wrong in fingering suspects for her leader, Detective Alcides. She hangs out in disco clubs where drug deals are made and other places that are more than a tad dangerous for anybody.
But Regina goes too far when one night she observes through her binoculars a man in an apartment across the street from her place giving what appears to be a lethal injection to a woman. It turns out the man is an important judicial official in the government, and Det. Alcides fires Regina for getting him in trouble after he sends officers to the judge's apartment to investigate the death of his wife, who, it turns out, was dying of cancer.
Matters take a different turn when Regina sets things up to begin a relationship with the judge, Camargo (Raul Cortez), in order to get the goods on him, only to find herself drifting toward a romantic attachment to his man. The judge's movement from suspect to lover in Regina's estimation occurs in an entirely convincing manner.
The screenplay, based on a story by the director, Marcos Bernstein, who also co-wrote the script for "Central Station" and makes his directorial debut here. The film is almost without exception well crafted, the dialogue sparkling. Ms. Montenegro, who was 74 when this film was shot, is enchanting: think of the Italian actress Giulietta Masina but with more of an edge. Mr. Cortez is more than adequate playing opposite her. (In Portuguese) My rating: 8/10 (B+). (Seen on 02/15/05). If you'd like to read more of my reviews, send me a message for directions to my websites.
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