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Central Station (Central do Brasil)

Reviewed by Stella Tupinamba from Brazil

Stella Tupinamba
Staff Photo
This film shows how both poverty and hope play a role in the lives of some Brazilian people.


Director: Peter Weir

Type: drama

Actors: Fernanda Montenegro (Dora)
          Vinícius de Oliveira (Josué)

Country/Date: Brazil/France/1998

Central Station, a Brazilian movie released in the beginning of 1999, shows a poor and retired teacher who writes letters in the Rio de Janeiro train station. Illiterate people pay Dora to write and mail the letters, but she decides at home with the help of her neighbor if she will send them or not. Ana, one of Dora's clients, died in front of the station, and Dora took Ana's son, Josué, to her house. First, Dora had bad intentions, but then she decided to help the boy look for his father in the northeast.

The movie shows very realistically one side of the country. When I was in school, I learned that we had two "Brazils" and we could call our country "Belindia" because Brazil can be rich and developed like Belgium and also poor and undeveloped like India. "Central Station" shows the Brazil that is like India. Sometimes Brazilians don't realize that they have the contrast and they may think that the movie is an exaggeration.

I could recognize some of the Brazilian problems: illiteracy, security, abandoned kids, traffic of children, dirty cities, undeveloped regions, violence, etc. But the saddest thing to think about is that a lot of people could have the same reaction that Dora had first. I also could see how beautiful our nature is, how religious my country is, that people have hope and sometimes they are simple and ignorant but happy.

The movie is like a prize for Brazilians because the world is recognizing our art and our artists. I don't know if Fernanda Montenegro will win the Oscar or not but for us she is a winner because she was nominated. I'm proud of our artists, and I believe that Brazil can become a better country because we are recognizing our India.

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