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The Train Films

Guy Sherwin
2004 (1977)
variable lengths, colour and black & white, sound and silent Sound and Silent 16mm
variable selection of films for multiple projectors; see under separate film entries

The Train Films

A set of films that can be projected in various combinations and projection formats. Of overall interest is the illusions of movement and stasis experienced when travelling by rail.

Some of the films use three adjacent screens, others are shown in widescreen format. Several of the films also explore relations between sound and image, or music and image. Some are reworkings of films I made in the 70s while others have been shot recently or use found or re-discovered footage.

A version shown in Feb 2004 at the MediaCity 10 Festival in Windsor Ontario comprised the following films:

ROLLING STOCK (WAGONS) 3 screens. silent. 6 mins. Found footage of detached wagons freewheeling through frames in rhythmic configurations, intercut with stencilled leader.

CANON sound. 4 mins. An industrial chimney seen from a passing train, edited in phased repetition.

SOUNDTRACK widescreen format. sound. 5 mins. Railway tracks seen from a speeding train are converted into optical sounds.

STATION (CAMDEN ROAD) 3 screens. silent. 9 mins. Stationary shot of a station platform repeated across three screens. Trains and people waiting and departing, arriving and repeating.

NIGHT TRAIN 2 overlapping screens, 1 widescreen, 1 standard format. sound. 2 mins.Long exposures of lights seen from a moving train. The lights are transformed into optical sounds.

WIRES 3 screens. silent. 3 mins. The dance of wires against the sky seen from a speeding train. A longer version of this film is in progress.

RALLENTANDO 3 screens (begins with 1 screen). sound. 5 mins. Accelerating and decelerating rhythms taken from a train as it enters a station. Sound is adapted from Honneger's Pacific 231.

Other films in the series, completed or in progress:

DA CAPO 9 mins or 5 mins. sound. Variations on a train with Anna. Several interpretations of a prelude by J.S.Bach accompany a repeated shot taken from a train leaving a station.

PASSAGE 3 mins. sound. Static image of sunlight moving inside a train.

HAKATA 3 screens. 8 mins. silent. Trains repeatedly arrive and leave Hakata Station in south Japan.

MINESHAFT sound. endless loop gallery installation. Found footage taken from inside a truck moving down a mineshaft. (see picture)

note: for more on THE TRAIN FILMS see introductory essay by Nicky Hamlyn, written prior to the completion of some of the above films.

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