Rio's teeming rail terminus serves as the effective launchpad for Walter Salles's Oscar-nominated Brazilian fable. A road-movie of sorts, Central Station trails Fernanda Montenegro's retired schoolmarm and her abandoned nine-year-old charge (Vinicius de Oliveira) on a hunt through the badlands of Sertao for the boy's missing father. The trip takes in all facets of Brazil's disparate, displaced and poverty-stricken culture, yet Salles steadfastly refuses to make any heavy-handed political point here. Instead, his social critque remains implicit, low-down in the mix. The fine, unshowy acting is set off nicely by Walter Carvalho's haunting visuals, as Central Station blooms by degrees into a picture that is both intimate and universal.