Central Station is a Brazilian film from 1998 that was directed by Walter Salles. Central Station chronicles the journey between two strangers who learn to care about each other. Dora is a deceptive letter writer who works in a train station. One day one of her clients is struck down by a bus and her son, Josue, is left to fend for himself. After taking pity on the boy, Dora takes him home. Initially Dora grows weary of his presence and sells him to a child trafficker. She feels remorseful and steals him back, now devoted to return him to his birth father whom she knows about through a letter she had to write. Things do not go as planned of course. They have to be on the run from the people Dora stole Josue back from. They get stranded at some sort of religious convention in the desert. Josue’s father is difficult to find because he’s changed his address several times. Even with all these obstacles the pair of loners grows closer together. In the end, Dora does not find Josue’s father, but she does leave him with his two older brothers. She knows it’s the right thing to do even though it hurts her greatly, and she prays that he will not ever forget her.
The themes in this film are poverty, maternal instinct, and doing the right thing. The area that Dora works in is so poor that most of the population can’t read or right. This is why Dora writes letters for people. The other areas shown in the film are also run down and poverty stricken. The area that Dora leaves Josue in is the projects for that region. Dora had maternal instinct, whether she likes it or not. If she didn’t have this she would have left Josue there and not cared what happened to him. I also think she grew to care for him as a son as time went on instead of caring for him as a friend. She was very protective of him at certain points. Dora was also forced to do the right thing. She had a conscious and it grew over time. She took Josue into her home because of a mix of maternal instinct as a woman and because she wanted to do the right thing. The whole plot of the movie was Dora trying to do the right thing. It never really seemed to work in her favor, but at least she tried.
Central Station is probably within my top 3 films that we watched this semester. I don’t know what it was about this film, but my attention was kept the entire time. The only criticisms I have of the film is that Josue’s voice was really, really obnoxious when he would yell. Also, I’m still kind of confused on whether the father is alive or dead, and whether or not he really cares about Josue’s existence. I think what was different about this film is that Josue was a brat. It was hard to care about him at some points. I think the character that viewers would feel for more would be Dora. She wasn’t so much a charity case as she was just a normal person trying to do something nice for someone else. I would definitely recommend this film to people who were looking for a film from Brazil.