Portugese is a lovely language

Sometimes you stumble into something that you know you'll like the moment you see it.

Such was the case yesterday morning, as I was getting ready for work. The film Central do Brasil (Central Station) was on IFC, already half over. The cinematography of Walter Carvalho and the colorful scenery of northern Brazil had caught my eye.

As I dressed I was drawn in further by the incredible talent of Fernanda Montenegro and Vinícius de Oliveira. Montenegro plays Dora, a retiree who writes letters for illiterates at Rio de Janeiro's train station of the title in order to make ends meet. No saint, Dora doesn't mail the letters she writes and is left to post. One of her customers is Oliveira's mother. When she is killed in a traffic accident, Oliveira's character, Josué, comes under Dora's wing.

At first Dora simply attempts to sell Josué to child traffickers for some ready cash but, eventually, circumstances cause Dora to leave Rio with Josué to find his father. This is where I came in.

The film becomes a road picture. A voyage of discovery in which the cantankerous Dora and the very un-waif like Josué are able to go from being complete strangers to a strong level of warmth and caring for each other.

What carries it off, of course, and what helps make the film powerful, is the incredible acting. Fernanda Montenegro is one of Brasil's great actresses. A fact I certainly wouldn't dispute based on what I saw in this film. Vinícius de Oliveira, on the other hand, according to what I read, was a shoeshine boy discovered by the director, Walter Salles. Together, under Salles excellent direction, the two actors become perfect foils for each other, lending the film a very human and real touch. Something I just don't think Hollywood can do anymore.

Central do Brasil was already on my Netflix list when I stumbled into it on IFC so now I'm looking very forward to seeing the first half of the film for the first time and the entire film over and over again.
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