'Snowpiercer' by Train - Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow Recap
by Jeremy Kirk
June 27, 2014
It was a humid, mid-80 degree night in Burnet, Texas this past Saturday. Crickets and mosquitos were out in full force as were the fair vendors who were set up in the small town's square. But they weren't alone this evening. The Alamo Drafthouse's inflatable, Rolling Roadshow was erected. The movie screening was Snowpiercer, South Korean director Bong Joon Ho's American debut, and the few hundred film lovers who spilled out of the steam train that pulled into the town from Austin were in for more than an exciting two hours of escapism. Like past Rolling Roadshows, the fine people at Drafthouse had an entire evening planned out: the train ride itself, the film, plenty of food and drink, a Q&A with the film's director, and even a surprise and unplanned intro. In a nutshell, it was like all Rolling Roadshow events, an absolute blast.
Bong Joon-ho's new science fiction film takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, one where the planet has fallen into a permanent frozen state due to complications with global warming. The planet's only remaining survivors live on the Snowpiercer, a massive train whose cars provide every amenity the human race may need to survive. Like most, modern societies, the classes on the train are split between the "Haves" and the "Have Nots," those who live at the head of the train, and those who live at the tail. Needless to say, the people living near the tail don't have access to many of those additional perks the train brings with it.
Drafthouse, never passing on the opportunity to exercise movie rules in the real world, put just such a "class system" in place on the train to Burnet. The first, two cars of the Hill County Flyer steam train were transformed into the VIP section, an assortment of free drinks and a sushi bar ready to serve included on the trip. Those not fortunate enough to be seated in the VIP cars received their daily ration of tap water and protein bars; black, gelatinous cubes of unidentified protein that tasted better than they looked, a direct tie-in with what the tail section residents in Snowpiercer eat.
Among the many movie lovers who took the trip was none other than Bronson and Drive director, Nicolas Winding Refn, such a lover of film that he bought himself a ticket in order to be a part of the experience. Alamo Drafthouse founder, Tim League, never one to pass on a golden opportunity, asked if Refn would be so kind as to introduce the entire evening, a request which the filmmaker was more than happy to oblige.
League then introduced the man of the hour and first-time visitor to the great state of Texas, Bong Joon-ho, who said he was floored by the turnout to watch his movie. In his own introduction, League referred to Snowpiercer as a "masterpiece," a heavy word to be thrown around films these days. My own review for the film will be posted later on, but I can safely say League knows precisely of what he speaks. Snowpiercer is the epic, sci-fi actioner we have been waiting for, a rule-bending, incredibly intelligent break from reality that is as flawlessly executed as it is ingeniously crafted. This is a movie worth seeking out.
After the film, Tim League conducted a quick Q&A with Bong through his interpreter, some of which you can see for yourself in the video below. The Q&A was spoiler-laden, definitely for those who have already seen the film, so be sure to check the film out before viewing. Still, despite the short time left for League's questions, he got to the heart of why Bong wanted to make this film, an adaptation of a French graphic novel that is over 30 years old (Bong has been working to adapt the film to screen for the past 10 years).
Thankfully, Drafthouse knows how to keep the party going on into the night, and this Rolling Roadshow was by no means an exception. We boarded back on the stream train, but now the second car had been turned into a disco car, complete with strobe lights and an abundance of dance music to make our trip back home breeze by all the more smoothly. It was a glorious end to a magnificent evening for every last movie lover.
You can check out all the festivities the evening had to offer in this cavalcade of photos from Drafthouse:
And here is a quick video montage of the evening that includes part of League's Q&A with Bong Joon-ho:
Snowpiercer opens today, June 27th, in Austin, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. It expands wide next Friday, July 2nd. A huge thank you goes out to Alamo Drafthouse and Fons PR for putting on yet another incredible Rolling Roadshow event. Catch this film playing in theaters now.
The cast for Joon-ho Bong's Snowpiercer includes Chris Evans with Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Oscar winners Tilda Swinton & Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, Kang-ho Song and Luke Pasqualino as passengers on the train. Joon-ho describes Snow Piercer as a post-apocalyptic movie about a few survivors who end up on a massive train that is divided by economic classes. "With a revolt brewing onboard, the Snow Piercer is a train of Earth's lone survivors that travels around the cold world." The Weinstein Company will release Snowpiercer, the full "Director's Cut", in select US theaters starting June 27th this summer. The film premiered last year and also showed at the Berlin Film Festival.