Central Station (film)

Central Station (film)

name = Central Station
(Central do Brasil)

caption = "Central do Brasil" movie poster.
director = Walter Salles
producer = Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre
Arthur Cohn
writer = Walter Salles
starring = Fernanda Montenegro
Matheus Nachtergaele
Marília Pêra
Vinícius de Oliveira
music = Antonio Pinto
Jacques Morelenbaum
cinematography = Walter Carvalho
editing = Felipe Lacerda
distributor = Sony Pictures Classics (USA)
Europa Filmes (Brazil)
released = flagicon|Brazil 3 April 1998
flagicon|USA 20 November, 1998
flagicon|UK 12 March, 1999
flagicon|New Zealand 20 March, 1999
flagicon|Australia 1 April, 1999
runtime = 113 min.
country = flagicon|Brazil Brazil /
language = Portuguese
budget = $2,900,000
imdb_id = 0140888|

"Central Station" ( _pt. Central do Brasil) is an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning 1998 drama film set in Brazil. It tells the story of a young boy's friendship with a jaded middle-aged woman. The movie was adapted by Marcos Bernstein and João Emanuel Carneiro from a story by Walter Salles and it was directed by Salles. It features Fernanda Montenegro and Vinícius de Oliveira in the major roles. It was an international co-production between Brazil and France. The film's title in Portuguese, "Central do Brasil", is the name of Rio de Janeiro's main railway station.


Dora is a former school teacher who is now a bitter old woman. She works at Rio de Janeiro's Central Station, writing letters for illiterate customers in exchange for some money. She hates her customers, and often does not mail the letters she writes, putting them in a drawer or even tearing them apart. Josué is a poor 9-year-old boy who has never met with his father, Jisus, but hopes to do so. His mother sends letters to his father through Dora, saying that she hopes to reunite with him soon, but when she is run over and killed in a bus accident in the station, Josué is left helpless. Dora takes him in and sells him, but encouraged by her friend Irene, later steals him back.

Dora is initially reluctant to be responsible for the boy, but she ends up deciding to take a trip with him to Nordeste, in order to find his father's house and leave him there.

Dora tries to leave Josué on the bus but he follows her, forgetting his rucksack which contains Dora's money. Penniless, they are picked up by a kindly, religious truck driver who abandons them when Dora grows too friendly. By hitching they reach Jisus' house but he has sold it to buy alcohol. In the town, Josué saves them from destitution by suggesting Dora write letters for pilgrims. This time, she posts the letters. Despite the age difference,Dora and Josué, have become great friends.

By chance, they find Josué's two half-brothers. Their father has disappeared, but Dora reads the letter he had sent six months ago: he had gone to Rio in search of Josué's mother and the son he has never seen. The brothers realise he too must be dead. The next morning, while Josué sleeps, Dora takes the bus for Rio. Josué wakes up too late to prevent her departure. Both are left with a photo by which to remember one another.


*Fernanda Montenegro - Dora
*Marília Pêra - Irene
*Vinícius de Oliveira - Josué
*Soia Lira - Ana
*Othon Bastos - César
*Otávio Augusto - Pedrão
*Stela Freitas - Yolanda
*Matheus Nachtergaele - Isaías

Production details

*Over 1,500 boys auditioned for the role of Josué. The winner, Vinícius de Oliveira, was a shoe-shine boy. [cite web|title =Internet Movie Database| url= http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140888.html| accessdate = 2008-10-05 ]

*The movie was shot entirely in the sequence of its script.. [cite web|title =Internet Movie Database| url= http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140888.html| accessdate = 2008-10-05 ]

*When Fernanda Montenegro set up her table at Central do Brasil, real people (who didn't recognize her) approached her to write letters for them. Some of these real requests were incorporated in the film by Salles.. [cite web|title =Internet Movie Database| url= http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140888.html| accessdate = 2008-10-05 ]

*The show that is airing on Dora's new television was a popular (now defunct) SBT program called "Topa Tudo Por Dinheiro", which means "Agree To Do Anything For Money" in English.. [cite web|title =Internet Movie Database| url= http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140888.html| accessdate = 2008-10-05 ]


The road movies follow a time-honoured scenario: haphazard travelling companions take a trip down self-Discovery highway, destination understanding. For nine-year-old Josué, the search for his father marks his coming of age. His companion Dora, a retired teacher, rediscovers her humanity when she leaves her post writing letters for Rio's illiterates in Central Station to help him.

Walter Salles takes upheavals in Brazil as his starting point and tackles individual quests within the context of the pain, loss and redemption of the whole community. Josué spends most of the film trying to join a community which is a metonym for the Brazilian society Dora abandoned along with her teaching career. As a letter writer, she interprets rather than instructs: if knowledge is her currency, she has exchanged generosity for avarice. She and Josué approach one another from opposite ends of the social spectrum: he seeks a place, she has abandoned hers. These two disparate but coinciding quests for rehabilitation are the film's heartbeat.

With his brothers, Josué will find a trade and a place in society. It is at his instigation that his mother Ana writes - via Dora - to her abusive drunken husband Jisus, tentatively pleading for reconciliation while the boy plays with a wooden top, symbol of his soon-to-be-lost childhood realm. He will lose top and mother simultaneously. His search for male role models will place him behind the wheel on a paternal truck driver's lap when he and Dora hitch a lift. Later, he will strike a similar pose with his older brother Moisés in front of the latter's lathe: the man behind, guiding the boy's hands. Under Moisés' guidance, Josué makes a top, no longer just a toy but a symbolic token of initiation into the community. This process begun, Dora leaves, having rediscovered the selflessness of the teacher/guide.

Like the trains, Central Station starts from the eponymous station and radiates outwards. People and trains move past with equal smoothness, making their random trajectories through the umber light that permeates the film. Characters collide with one another with seeming incoherence, like the letters which Dora posts, keeps or destroys according to her whim. Life is not linear. Dora tells Josué that one should always take buses because they have regular routes and preordained stops. She associates taxis with instability; her father's unfaithfulness; her mother's death. Dora's world contains its own insecurity: a perpetual liar whose lies are never believed, she imputes her own untruthfulness to others. "How do they measure a kilometre?" asks Josué during their journey. "They make it up," replies Dora.

Vinícius de Oliveira plays the proud, vulnerable Josué, chin raised as the tears fall, dictating Dora's clothes and make-up and initiating macho sex talk as he tries to seem grown up. Like a teacher brushing up on a rusty foreign language, Dora relearns her moral grammar for his benefit and posts the letters she used to jettison. The film takes religion as its point of stability, replicating the developing country's conflict between industrialisation and tradition. The two travellers bounce from evangelist truck drivers to places of pilgrimage. In a stunning visual depiction of faith, the screen fills with points of light from pilgrims' candles. The family unit, seen as irrevocably lost, is idolised: Dora becomes a virgin mother to Josué, while his brothers create a shrine commemorating Ana and Jisus. When Dora leaves, the image which remains to comfort her and Josué for their mutual loss is a photo of them taken with a picture of a saint, a parody of the nuclear family, suggesting the duplication which replaces intimacy in a fragmented society. Salles takes this one step further: the result, a random microcosm of Brazilian life both intimate and eloquent, is Central Station.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards
*Best Actress in a Leading Role – Fernanda Montenegro (nominated)
*Best Foreign Language Film (nominated)

BAFTA Film Awards
*Best Film Not in the English Language – Arthur Cohn, Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre and Walter Salles (won)

Berlin International Film Festival
*Golden Bear – Walter Salles (won)
*Silver Bear for Best Actress – Fernanda Montenegro (won)
*Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Walter Salles (won)

César Awards
*Best Foreign Film – Walter Salles (nominated)

Golden Globe Awards
*Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama – Fernanda Montenegro (nominated)
*Best Foreign Language Film (won)

Independent Spirit Awards
*Best Foreign Film – Walter Salles (nominated)

National Board of Review
*Best Actress – Fernanda Montenegro (won)
*Best Foreign Language Film (won)

Satellite Awards
*Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama – Fernanda Montenegro (nominated)
*Best Original Screenplay – João Emanuel Carneiro and Marcos Bernstein (nominated)
*Best Foreign Language Film – Walter Salles (won)


External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6E1JE1W2nU Brazilian Director Walter Salles talks about his career]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Golden Bear winner
before="The People vs. Larry Flynt"
after="The Thin Red Line"
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title=Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film
before="Ma vie en rose"
after="All About My Mother"
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title=BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language
after="All About My Mother"

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