Central Station (film)
|Directed by||Walter Salles|
|Produced by||Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre
|Written by||Walter Salles
João Emanuel Carneiro
Vinícius de Oliveira
|Music by||Antonio Pinto
|Editing by||Felipe Lacerda|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics (USA)
Europa Filmes (Brazil)
|Running time||106 minutes|
Central Station (Portuguese: Central do Brasil) is a 1998 Brazilian-French drama film set in Brazil. It tells the story of a young boy's friendship with a jaded middle-aged woman. The film was adapted by Marcos Bernstein and João Emanuel Carneiro from a story by Walter Salles and it was directed by the latter. It features Fernanda Montenegro and Vinícius de Oliveira in the major roles. The film's title in Portuguese, Central do Brasil, is the name of Rio de Janeiro's main railway station. The film premiered at the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.
Dora is a retired schoolteacher who has become embittered. She works at Rio de Janeiro's Central Station, writing letters for illiterate customers, in order to make ends meet. She can be impatient with her customers and sometimes does not mail the letters she writes, putting them in a drawer or even tearing them up. Josué is a poor 9-year-old boy who has never met his father, 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 killed in a bus accident just outside the train station, the boy is left homeless. Dora takes him in and traffics him to a corrupt couple, but she is made to feel guilty by her neighbor and friend Irene and later steals him back.
Dora is initially reluctant to be responsible for the boy, but ends up deciding to take a trip with him to Northeast Brazil 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 backpack containing Dora's money. Penniless, they are picked up by a kind, Evangelical truck driver who abandons them when Dora encourages him to drink beer and then grows too friendly. Dora trades her watch for a ride to Bom Jesus on the back of a truck. They find his father's address in Bom Jesus, but the current residents say that Jesus won a house in the lottery, and now lives in the new settlements, adding that he lost the house and money through drinking. With no money, Josué saves them from destitution by suggesting Dora write letters for the pilgrims who have arrived in Bom Jesus for a massive pilgrimage. This time she posts the letters.
They take the bus to the settlements, but when they locate the address they have for Josué's father, they are told by the new residents that he no longer lives there and has disappeared. Josué tells Dora that he will wait for him, but Dora invites him to live with her. She calls Irene in Rio and asks her to sell her refrigerator, sofa and television. She says that she will call when she gets settled somewhere. After she hangs up, she learns that there are no buses leaving until the next morning.
Isaías, one of Josué's half-brothers, is working on a roof next to the bus stop, and learns that they are looking for his father. After introducing himself, Dora says that she is a friend of his father and was in the area. Isaías insists that she and Josué, who, suspicious of the stranger, has introduced himself as Geraldo, come to dinner. They return to his house, where they meet Moisés, the other half-brother. Later, Isaías explains to Dora that their father married Ana, who he doesn't know is Josué's mother, after their mother died, and that nine years ago, while pregnant, Ana left her drunken lover for Rio and never returned. Isaías asks Dora to read a letter his father wrote to Ana when he disappeared, six months ago, in case she returned. In the letter, the boys' father explains that he has gone to Rio to find Ana and the son he has never met. He promises to return, asks her to wait for him, and says they can all be together -- himself, Ana, Isaías and Moisés. At this point Dora pauses, looks at Josué and says, "and Josué, whom I can't wait to meet." Isaías and Josué both say that he will return, but Moisés doesn't think so. The next morning, while the sons sleep, Dora sneaks out to catch the bus for Rio. She first leaves beside the letter from Jesus the one from Ana to Jesus, the one Dora carried with her from the Central Station but never mailed, expressing Ana's wish for the family to be reunited. Josué wakes up too late to prevent her departure. Dora writes a letter to Josué on the bus. Both are left with the photos they had taken by which to remember one another.
- Fernanda Montenegro as Dora
- Vinícius de Oliveira as Josué
- Marília Pêra as Irene
- Soia Lira as Ana
- Othon Bastos as César
- Otávio Augusto as Pedrão
- Stela Freitas as Yolanda
- Matheus Nachtergaele as Isaías
- Caio Junqueira as Moisés
Central Station Interancional Film Market (1999)
- Country South Africa
Public s / d Income: (U.S. $) 45,000
- Country Germany
Public: 300 000 Income: (U.S. $) 1,800,000 (*)
- Country Argentina
Public: 180 000 Income: (U.S. $) 540 000 (*)
- Country Belgium
Public: 80 000 Income: (U.S. $) 480 000 (*)
- Country Bolivia
Public: 5 600 Income: (U.S. $) 10 200 (*)
- Country Brazil
Publico: 1.6 million Income: (U.S. $) 4 300 000
- Country Chile
Public: 33 700 Income: (U.S. $) 147 000
- Country Colombia
Public: 16 700 Income: 38000
- Country South Korea
Public s / d Income: (U.S. $) 103 000
- Country Ecuador
Public: 8 000 Income: (U.S. $) 15 000
- Country Spain
Public 120,000 Income: (U.S. $) 720 000 (*)
- Country USA
Public: 1.3 million Income: (U.S. $) 6 500 000
- Country France
Public 590 000 Income: (U.S. $ 3.44 million (*)
- Country England
Public: 200 000 Income: (U.S. $) 1 000 000
- Country Italy
Public: 242 000 Income: (U.S. $) 1 300 000
- Country Mexico
Public: 72 000 Income: (U.S. $) 200 000
- Country Panama
Public 1 100 Income: (U.S. $) 7 500
- Country Peru
Public: 33 400 Income: (U.S. $ 110 200
- Country Switzerland
Public: 200 000 Income: (U.S. $) 600 000 (*)
- Country Uruguay
Public: 45 000 Income: (U.S. $) 260 000
- Country Venezuela
Public: 35 600 Income: (U.S. $) 112 000
- Total Public : 5.063.500
- Total revenue : U.S. $: 22,462,500.00 
The film was an NYT Critics' Pick: according to Janet Maslin, "Mr. Salles directs simply and watchfully, with an eye that seems to penetrate all the characters"; the film features a "bravura performance by the Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro." According to Richard Schickel, the film is "an odyssey of simple problems, simple emotional discoveries, [and] a relationship full of knots that Salles permits to unwind in an unforced, unsentimental fashion. His imagery, like his storytelling, is clear, often unaffectedly lovely, and quietly, powerfully haunting. Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade of A–, concluding "In outline, Central Station recalls many of the bogusly sticky adult-kid bonding tales that have been the bane of foreign cinema for too long, but Salles, like De Sica and Renoir, displays a pure and unpatronizing feel for the poetry of broken lives. His movie is really about that most everyday of miracles: the rebirth of hope." 
Awards and nominations
- "Wettbewerb/In Competition". Moving Pictures, Berlinale Extra (Berlin): 16. 11–22 February 1998.
- Maslin, Janet (November 20, 1998). "A Journey of Hope and Self-Discovery for Two Hard-Bitten Souls". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- Schickel, Richard (December 14, 1998). "Central Station". Time. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- Gleiberman, Owen (November 27, 1998). "Central Station". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema | 57. Central Station". Empire.
- "Berlinale: 1998 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- Official website
- Central Station at the Internet Movie Database
- Central Station at AllRovi
- Central Station at Rotten Tomatoes
- Brazilian Director Walter Salles talks about his career