Chris Marker: The train rolls on

From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Sep 29 2007 - 02:54:45 PDT

I've just seen the Chris Marker film "The train Rolls
on" which was preety intresting on a number of
accounts. I'm not sure how much I was into the film. I
think I was a little dissapointed at first as it's
made by Chris Marker, and well... you know how it is.

The film for those who don't know is a documentary
about a train that runs across Russia shortly before
the second world war. It is a special train. A film
train! On the train are compartments containing: A fim
lab, a tiny cinema, film cameras, an editing
compartment, and finally an animation compartment. Oh
and I nearly forgot, as it seems did the designers of
the train, a tiny space in which was the accomodation
for the travelling filmakers. :) In the film they
compare it to like living on a submarine.

The train travelled across Russia and on it's way they
would make films about life in the soviet union and
show the films to the people.

I loved the idea as you might expect and it made me
wonder how feasable it might be to have a film bus or
something to travel around shooting processing and
screening film. Of course I can't drive and I don't
think in these times that people would be that open to
a kind of cinema like this but I still like the idea
of it.

Anyway getting to the point, it made me wonder
somewhat about Chris Marker. The film seems in places
somewhat critical of the soviet reigeme, however I
understand that Chris used to be a Marxist filmaker at
one point?
I've not seen any of the more marxist films and I'm
now wondering what kind of films he made and what made
him step away from it?

In my last post where I was asking about political
films, someone mentioned Sans Soliel, which as you all
know I absolutely love, but it's never struck me as
being especially political, so maybe I am missing
something somewhere?

Perhaps Chris was disillusioned by the fall of the
soviet union or maybe just the way the world was going
as fassbinder reffered to.

It worries me greatly that we presently live in a
preety awful political vaccum as both captialism and
communism are seen to have failed. It worries me where
the world might end up.

Anyways I was just wondeing what was known about Chris
Marker and his views on film as a left wing filmmaker
in these times.

Oh and before I forget, I should share with you my
feelings about the film. The film opens with a sort of
experimental montage with voiceover. It's sadly only
mildly intresting and it's a while before you discover
what the film is really about. Once you get into the
film proper however it just becomes a more standard
documentary which while being really interesting in
content, is less interesting cinematically. So the
experimental part of the film is a lot less
interesting than the ordinary documentary part. It's
kind of the inverse some other films I've seen and it
seems from my perspective that something has gone a
bit wrong with it all. I would have edited it
differently, but there we go.

It's an intresting film and I like it but it also
seems very flawed.



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