CENTRAL STATION [1998 / 2002] [DVD] [UK Release] The uplifting story of an unlikely friendship between an orphan and cynical woman who learn to help each other!

‘CENTRAL STATION’ – Honoured with a Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language Film and featuring an unforgettable performance by Academy Award® nominated actress Fernanda Montenegro, this acclaimed film sensation is a profoundly moving story about the triumph of the human spirit. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira [Fernanda Montenegro] is a lonely and cynical older woman who spends her day’s unhappily writing letters for illiterate customers at Rio de Janeiro’s Central Station. But things begin to change when she reluctantly befriends a homeless orphan, Josué Fontenele de Paiva. When she agrees to help Josué Fontenele de Paiva search for the father he’s never known, Isadora "Dora" Teixeira also rediscovers something she’d thought was lost forever: her heart.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1998 Golden Satellite Awards: Win: Best Foreign Language Film. Nominated: Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for Fernanda Montenegro. Nominated: Best Original Screenplay for João Emanuel Carneiro and Marcos Bernstein. 1998 Berlin International Film Festival: Win: Golden Bear Award. Win: Silver Bear Award. 1998 National Board of Review: Win: Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro. Win: Best Foreign Language Film. 1998 Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Win: Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro. 1998 New York Film Critics Circle: Win [2nd Place]: Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro. 1998 Havana Film Festival: Win: Best Film. Win: Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro. 1998 Association of Film Critics Spain: Win: Best Foreign Language Film. 1998 Association of Film Critics in Poland: Win: Best Foreign Language Film. 1998 National Association of Italian Critic: Win: Best Foreign Language Film. 1998 Sundance Film Festival: Win: Best Screenplay for João Emanuel Carneiro and Marcos Bernstein, 1998 San Sebastián International Film Festival: Win: Audience Award for ‘CENTRAL STATION.’ 1998 Association of Film Critics of Rio de Janeiro: Win: Film of the Year. 1999 Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film for ‘CENTRAL STATION.’ Nominated: Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro. Nominated: Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for Fernanda Montenegro. 1999 Golden Globe Awards: Win: Best Foreign Language Film. 1999 Independent Spirit Awards: Nominated: Best Foreign Film. 1999 Independent Spirit Awards: Nominated: Best Foreign Film. 1999 British Academy Film Awards: Win: Best Film Not in the English Language. 1999 24th César Awards: Nominated: Best Foreign Film. 1999 São Paulo Association of Art Critics: Win: Best Film. Win: Best Director for Walter Salles. Win: Best Actress for Fernanda Montenegro.

FILM FACT No.2: Being a co-production between Brazil and France, the film was chosen by the French Ministry of Culture to receive resources of Fonds Sud Cinema, for their funding. ‘CENTRAL STATION’ was first shown in a regional film festival in Switzerland on the 16th January, 1998 and on the 19th January, 1998 was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in the United States. On the 14th February, 1998, it was shown at the Berlin Film Festival.

Cast: Fernanda Montenegro, Marília Pêra, Vinícius de Oliveira, Soia Lira, Othon Bastos, Otávio Augusto, Stela Freitas, Matheus Nachtergaele, Caio Junqueira, Socorro Nobre, Manoel Gomes, Roberto Andrade, Sheyla Kenia, Malcon Soares, Maria Fernandes, Maria Marlene, Christano Camargo, Jorseba-Sebastiano Oliveira, Andréa Albuquerque, Sidney Antunes, Rita Assemany, João Braz, Patrícia Brás, Marcelo Carneiro, Telma Cunha, José Pedro da Costa Filho, Felícia de Castro, Marcos de Lima, Preto de Linha, Harildo Deda, Antonio Dos Santos, Berto Filho, Fernando Fulco, Gildasio Leite, Sônia Leite, Edivaldo Lima, Nanego Lira, Diego Lopes Filho, Dona Luzia, Antônio Marcos, Mário Mendes, Maria Menezes, Estelina Moreira da Silva, Esperança Motta, Manuel José Neves, Antonieta Noronha, José Pereira da Silva, Zezão Pereira, Everaldo Pontes, José Ramos, Iami Rebouças, João Rodrigues, Gideon Rosa, Inaldo Santana, Cícero Santos, Dona Severina, Eliane Silva, Ingrid Trigueiro and Sergio Kato   (uncredited) 

Director: Walter Salles

Producers: Afonso Coaracy, Arthur Cohn, Donald Ranvaud, Elisa Tolomelli, Jack Gajos, Lillian Birnbaum, Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre, Paulo Brito, Paulo Carlos De Brito, Robert Redford, Thomas Garvin and Walter Salles

Screenplay: João Emanuel Carneiro (writer), Marcos Bernstein (writer) and Walter Salles (story)    

Composers: Antonio Pinto and Jaques Morelenbaum 

Cinematography: Walter Carvalho (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080i

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)

Audio: Português: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English and English SDH

Running Time: 105 minutes

Region: PAL

Number of discs: 1


Andrew’s DVD Review: ‘CENTRAL STATION’ [1998] is an emotionally well-earned poignant tale, with neorealism blended with a road-trip journey film through 1990’s Brazil rich landscapes affecting Brazilian drama by Award Winning directed Walter Salles and is one of the best films of 1998. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira [Fernanda Montenegro] is a cynical and selfish former schoolteacher who earns a living writing letters for the illiterate in Rio de Janeiro's busy railroad station. Viewing most of her clients as "trash," Isadora "Dora" Teixeira never even mails their missives. ‘CENTRAL STATION’ is a masterpiece where Walter Salles joins his great talent as a director perfectly to the excellent script and cast powerful.

Nine-year-old Josué Fontenele de Paiva [Vinicius de Oliveira] comes to the station with his mother, who has Isadora "Dora" Teixeira write a letter to his father in a faraway town.  Then his mother is struck and killed by a bus. With nowhere to go, Josué Fontenele de Paiva sleeps in the station. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira reluctantly takes him to her cramped apartment where he finds the letter with his father's address. But the next day, Isadora "Dora" Teixeira sells him to some people who claim to be in the adoption business. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira buys a new television with the money from the transaction. Her friend Irene [Marília Pêra] is horrified at Isadora "Dora" Teixeira callousness attitude. The boy Josué Fontenele de Paiva, warns him he is in real danger of being killed for his organ parts. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira decides to rescue him and return him to his father. Isadora "Dora" Teixeirand Josué Fontenele de Paiva gets on a bus and flees the city.

All the world's religions celebrate compassion as the quivering of the human heart in response to suffering and ‘CENTRAL STATION’ depicts the slow opening of Isadora "Dora" Teixeira's heart as she and Josué Fontenele de Paiva travel across Brazil. After she tries to abandon him once, and Josué Fontenele de Paiva loses all the money Isadora "Dora" Teixeira gave him, they are picked up by a friendly fundamentalist Christian truck driver Otávio Augusto [Otávio Augusto]. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira welcomes this respite from her loneliness, but the Christian truck driver Otávio Augusto rushes off once he realizes she is interested in him physically.

The miraculous hatching of Isadora "Dora" Teixeira's heart occurs when they end up in the middle of a rural religious pilgrimage. Once again, the old woman becomes a letter writer, but now she approaches it differently. Perhaps for the first time in her life, Isadora "Dora" Teixeira senses her kinship with other people and their mutual yearning for love and connection. Further experiences with Josué Fontenele de Paiva awaken within Isadora "Dora" Teixeira tenderness for life. Isadora "Dora" Teixeira is transformed by the end of the journey.

Director Fernanda Montenegro gives such a truthful performance, assisted with remarkable dexterity, by shoeshine-boy-turned-actor, Vinicius de Oliveira that the cinematic quality of this Brazilian film dazzles. It becomes a true awe inspiring road movie.

Vinicius de Oliveira is fantastic as Josué Fontenele de Paiva, but actress Fernanda Montenegro dominates the screen, and Fernanda Montenegro is also magnetic to watch as Isadora "Dora" Teixeira. On top of all that, Fernanda Montenegro performance is such a masterpiece of acting that many will find themselves solely focused on the complexities she brought to Isadora "Dora" Teixeira and her body language completely changes when she opens up to Josué Fontenele de Paiva and to life again, why not? Even Isadora "Dora" Teixeira’s laughter is different during the course of the film. It’s not flashy work at all, it’s just part of Fernanda Montenegro wonderful creation, it’s all in Fernanda Montenegro subtleties, in her expressions, in her eyes. The eyes are the windows to the soul, and Fernanda Montenegro lets us in completely. There’s a reason why Fernanda Montenegro is considered the best living Brazilian actress and a national treasure, and ‘CENTRAL STATION’ is perhaps the best examples of this we get to witness.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast is also terrific: Otávio Augusto gives so beautiful little details to this truck driver Osmar Pedrão, Matheus Nachtergaele warmth is as palpable as Isaías Paiva, we instantly want to jump into the screen and tell him Josué Fontenele de Paiva is his brother and Caio Junqueira is also wonderful as the other brother Moisés Paiva. But ‘CENTRAL STATION’ has uniqueness to it: a chance to watch Fernanda Montenegro play against Moisés Paiva, another treasured Brazilian actress, and seeing them play together is just a huge pleasure.

When the end comes, it’s impossible to see Isadora "Dora" Teixeira’s final narration, when she asks Josué Fontenele de Paiva not to forget about her, without losing it completely. Last but certainly not least, the killer composed film score by Antonio Pinto is just totally beautiful and totally outstanding.

Catholic writer Henri J. M. Nouwen once wrote, "The joy that compassion brings is one of the best kept secrets of humanity." This extraordinary film publishes that secret, and we receive it with tears and glad tidings.


Toada e desafio (Written by Capiba with music and lyrics) [Performed by Quinteto da Paraíba]

Preciso me encontrar (Written by Candeia with music and lyrics) [Performed by Cartola]

Mama África (Written by Chico César) [Written by Chico César]

Ruínas da Babilônia (Written by Fauzi Beydoun) [Performed by Tribo de Jah]

É Deus Por Nós (Written by Fátima Leão and Alexandre Neto with Português Lyrics) (English lyrics written by Sarah F. Adams) (Music Composed by Lowell Mason) (1856) [Performed by Zezé di Camargo e Luciano Camargo]

Nearer, My God, to Thee (Composed by Lowell Mason) (1856) (Lyrics written by Sarah F. Adams)

* * * * *

DVD Image Quality – MIRAMAX FILMS presents us the film ‘CENTRAL STATION’ with a very nice 1080i image and especially for the DVD format and is enhanced with a 2.35:1 (Anamorphic) aspect ratio. To some reviewers they comment that it can seem sometimes slightly heavy and dark with interior shot scenes, but I did not experience this at all, instead what I viewed was scenes that were viewed in natural light and totally fitting for these types of scenes in the film, obviously they must have a very inferior Blu-ray player. Cinematography Walter Carvalho pulls out all the stops and makes the colour image standout with total perfection. The contrast is punchy, and while the strong colours all round, especially with the mid-range colours is most attractively rendered. But overall the majority of the film the image quality is really excellent, especially seeing very good detail, especially with vivid colours in the daylight scenes, and we also get to view realistic skin tones and nice inky blacks. What is also very good about this DVD is that there are no noticeable problems with grain or artefacts and in fact the image is so good, you think you are viewing a good standard Blu-ray disc. So all in all, this definitely get a much deserved five star rating for a film released in 1998. Please Note: Playback PAL: This will not play on most Blu-ray and DVD players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about the region specifications.

DVD Audio Quality – MIRAMAX FILMS brings us the film ‘CENTRAL STATION’ with just one standard 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio experience. It is also first-rate and very immersive, but at times the audio performance of the actors can be a little erotic with their comments, which is very natural for a film of this calibre and adult content. The dialogue in a few spots is sometimes nearly drowned out by some ambient sounds, especially with outdoors scenes, but inside buildings and rooms, the dialogue is spot on and you can hear all the actors speak very clearly. So all in all, this is a really good audio experience. Also outstanding is composers Antonio Pinto and Jaques Morelenbaum robust and dramatic composed Brazilian film music score that really adds ambience to the film that really helps you to enjoy this audio experience of this really excellent heart-warming and emotional film even more, so well done MIRAMAX FILMS for really giving the soundtrack a five star performance. 

* * * * *

DVD Special Features and Extras: Sadly, MIRAMAX FILMS decided that they felt that any supplementary extras was not worthy for this particular DVD release.

Finally, ‘CENTRAL STATION’ is an outstanding Brazilian drama with a simple story. An old woman is earning by writing letters to the near and dears of illiterate people at a central station but never posts them. A working woman, one of her clients dies in an accident after dictating a letter to the father of her son living far from Rio De Janeiro and story turns. The old woman unknowingly involves herself to find the father of the kid who's stretched relationship turns into a strong bonding. Awesome performances by the characters and a great exposure of Brazilian culture. This is a true stuff never to be missed. I loved it. A heart-warming travel movie… Fernanda Montenegro… What a gem of an actress Fernanda Montenegro is... This movie will definitely stay deep in your  heart.. and the visuals are so well made... A simple tale of two people how are in unusual situation. A document about life and times of Brazil. It is a very heart-warming film and marvellous acting by the leading lady. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

Back to homepage