Fernanda’s Finest


A couple of friends had me watch their most favorite foreign films, and the past few days were solitary marathons in my room amidst those great works. But I couldn’t have a better finale without seeing my most adored foreign film; one that I will never get tired of watching; one that still never fails to make me cry and silently whisper, “thank you,” just before the final credits roll.

Yes, it’s been more than a decade, since I first saw it with a friend, and I still sigh at every scene.

It is the story of Dora (played magnificently by Fernanda Montenegro) – a letter writer for the illiterate at Rio de Jainero’s central train station, and her unlikely friendship with Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira) – a young boy who just lost her mother. The two forms an unusual bond, as Dora accompanies Josue to a remote area in Brazil to find his father. It is a long journey, and the heat and dust just wouldn’t stop until the two arrive at the end of the road.

Walter Salles’ CENTRAL STATION (1998) is probably one of the best foreign films that I can recommend to my friends. His camera captures a real Brazil, and moulds Montenegro into a character that extends countless embraces beyond the screen.

It is a story about how compassion can transform even the most jaded of hearts. It is a journey to crispy sunrises and a bus trip of unsuspecting hearts and enduring hope, that even after countless times of watching it, I still can’t say thank you enough.

Watch it! Watch it! It’s worth every minute!