Film Reviews, Short Review

Central do Brasil [Central Station] (1998)

3/4

Dora (Fernanda Montenegro) spends her days in Rio’s central station, where she writes letters for the illiterate. One day, a woman comes with her son (Vinicius de Oliveira) to write a letter for her estranged husband. When she is killed in a bus accident, Dora takes pity on the poor boy and takes him northwards to his father, empathy not her strong suit as years of writing out the hardships of others has made her cold and unfriendly. As they travel further into the endless plains of the Brazilian interior, they encounter a variety of characters, many of them religious, as Central Station draws towards its surprising moving conclusion. Though it is occasionally uninteresting, Walter Salles’ direction is rooted in simplicity and makes good use of the Brazilian landscape. Two excellent central performances are the heart of the film, reminiscent of the parental relationship at the core of Vittorio De Sica’s masterful Bicycle Thieves.

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