From left: DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al Khater, Qatar Brazil 2014 Project Head Rafah Mouafak Barakat and Brazilian Ambassador Hildebrando Tadeu Valadares at the event.
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Critically acclaimed and multi-awarded Brazilian film Central Station served a perfect opening to Qatar Brazil 2014 Cinema Showcase on Thursday at Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) auditorium.
Beautiful and heart-wrenching, the road movie tells the story of Dora who writes letters for the illiterate at Rio de Janeiro’s Central Station and whose life is dramatically changed as she accompanies nine-year-old Josue on the search for his long-lost father.
Written and directed by Walter Salles, the film won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 1998 Berlin International Film Festival, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, among others, and stars Brazilian film icon Fernanda Montenegro as Dora.
“Central Station is indeed a beautiful delicate movie. Fernanda Montenegro an icon in Brazil, successfully defeats any temptation to allow sentimentality to wreck her performance,” Brazilian Ambassador Hildebrando Tadeu Valadares told the packed auditorium.
He praised the Showcase as a major component of Qatar Brazil Year of Culture.
In addition to football and World Cup, cinema is another Brazilian passion, he said, tracing the history of Brazilian cinema from the 1930s to its rise to wide acclaim from the 1960s to the present.
“In this context, this cinema nouveau movement was our main contribution to the seventh art,” he said, adding in terms of Brazilian contemporary culture, cinema nouveau is as important as bossa nova.
The Showcase is presented by Doha Film Institute (DFI) in partnership with Qatar Museums Authority (QMA).
“This is our third year of celebrating international diplomacy and intercultural dialogue through film after the success of the Japanese and the UK cinema showcases over the past two years. We are delighted to take local audiences on a journey into the Brazilian culture though the eyes of some of its most acclaimed filmmakers,” said Abdulaziz Al Khater, DFI Chief Executive Officer.
“Through cinema, we learn so much about other cultures and the world around us. Brazil is a country with a rich cinematic history and tonight’s screening marks a year of programming that will bring to audiences unforgettable facets of contemporary Brazilian works.”
He praised Central Station as a movie with a story distinctly Brazilian but whose message is universal.
Qatar Brazil 2014 Project Head Rafah Mouafak Barakat said the film initiative will present Brazilian classic and contemporary movies monthly, highlighting the rich diversity of Brazilian cinema.