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Central Station Details


Former documentary filmmaker Walter Salles (Walter Salles) directed this Brazilian-French road movie tracing the travels and travails of a young boy and an aging woman across the Brazilian landscape. In Rio de Janeiro's central railroad station, callous Dora (leading Brazilian stage/screen actress Fernanda Montenegro) works at a stand where she writes letters for a parade of poor and illiterate. Some of these remain undelivered because she chooses not to mail all of the letters. One of her customers is a woman whose nine-year-old son, Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira), hopes to see the father he has never met, but after the mother dictates two letters to the father, she's killed when hit by a bus. Since Josue is left homeless, Dora reluctantly takes him home to her small apartment overlooking the railroad tracks, where she sometimes spends time with her neighbor Irene (Marilia Pera). Dora places Josue with people who claim to find adoptive parents. When Irene informs her they actually sell children who are then killed for their organs, Dora rescues Josue, and the two board a bus. After a failed attempt to abandon Josue at a roadside stop, Dora and Josue hitch a ride from a religious truck driver. Failing to locate his father, they arrive penniless at a huge rural religious convocation, where Josue suggests Dora bring her letter-writing skills back into play. The notion works, and Dora profits by writing letters to saints for the more devout among the assembled multitudes. Continuing on, they arrive at a sprawling-mass housing development -- and hopefully, a solution to the problem of a family for Josue. Young actor de Oliveira was a shoeshine boy who beat out more than 1,500 other children who auditioned or were interviewed for the Josue role. Made with grants from the Sundance Institute, NHK, and the French Ministry of Culture, this film was shown at 1998 film festivals (Sundance, Berlin). ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

  • Release date:January 16, 1998


Awarded by
National Board of Review Fernanda Montenegro Best Actress 1998 Winner
Berlin International Film Festival Fernanda Montenegro Silver Bear for Best Actress 1998 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Fernanda Montenegro Best Actress - Runner-up 1998 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fernanda Montenegro Best Actress 1998 Nominee
French Academy of Cinema Walter Salles, Jr. Best Foreign Language Film 1998 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Walter Salles, Jr. Best Foreign Language Film 1998 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Walter Salles, Jr. Best Foreign Film 1998 Nominee


Walter Salles, Jr.
Arthur Cohn
Joao Emanuel Carneiro
Walter Salles, Jr.
Marcos Bernstein
Walter Carvalho
Isabelle Rathery
Felipe Lacerda
Cassio Amarante
Production Designer
Carla Caffe
Production Designer
Paulo Brito
Associate Producer
Thomas Garvin
Executive Producer
Lillian Birnbaum
Executive Producer
Elisa Tolomelli
Executive Producer
Monica Costa
Set Designer
Cristina Camargo
Costume Designer
Mark Van der Willigen
Sound/Sound Designer
Jean-Claude Brisson
Sound/Sound Designer
Kátia Lund
First Assistant Director