Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: Central do Brasil
Brazil/France, 1998. Audiovisual Development Bureau, Ministerio da Cultura, BEI Comunicações, Bahiatursa, Canal+, Coca Cola, Credicard, Dolby Digital, Fondation de la Poste, Fulmitrens, Lei de Incentivo a Cultura, MACT Productions, Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement International, NAK, Prefeitura Rio Filme, Rainer Artes Gráficas, Rio-Sul Linhas Aéreas, Riofilme, Sagepacq, Secretaria da Cultura e Turismo, Governo da Bahia, Severiano Ribeiro Distribuidora, São Paulo City Hall, Telebahia, The Sundance Institute, Varig Brasil, VideoFilmes. Story by Walter Salles, Screenplay by Marcos Bernstein, Joao Emanuel Carneiro. Cinematography by Walter Carvalho. Produced by Arthur Cohn, Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre, Robert Redford, Walter Salles. Music by Jaques Morelenbaum, Antonio Pinto. Production Design by Cassio Amarante, Carla Caffre. Costume Design by Cristina Camargo. Film Editing by Felipe Lacerda, Isabelle Rathery.
Gorgeous Brazilian version of Gloria with a standout Fernanda Montenegro as a hard-bitten retired schoolteacher who makes extra cash writing letters for illiterate citizens of Rio De Janeiro. She befriends an orphaned boy who loses his mother in an accident not far from her post and reluctantly helps him return to his father’s house in the country. The young boy is as equally disinterested in forming an attachment with the nutty old lady as she is to take care of him, but soon circumstances force them to stick together if they’re going to make it through their adventure alive. This classic is poetically photographed, full of rich emotional vistas that show off the landscapes and people of Brazil, and played from a dead-on sharp script by two newcomers to the profession (which is in turn inspired on a documentary about street kids in Rio’s central train station). This one really makes the leap to feature film with exceptional style and grace.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actress (Fernanda Montenegro); Best Foreign Language Film
Berlin Film Festival Awards: Golden Bear; Best Actress (Fernanda Montenegro)
Golden Globe Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Nomination: Best Actress-Drama (Fernanda Montenegro)
Toronto International Film Festival: 1998