Catch Thom Andersen's New Short Film 'A Train Arrives at the Station'
If you love cinematic documentaries and/or if you love trains, this is a must watch. Grasshopper Film has released a short film online called A Train Arrives at the Station, featuring 26 different scenes from various films through history showing trains arriving into or departing from stations. It's the latest work from filmmaker Thom Andersen, who made the outstanding documentary Los Angeles Play Itself (which you can rent on iTunes), profiling how the city has appeared in cinema over the years. The short features footage of films ranging from Ozu's The Only Son to Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James. I'm admittedly a huge train nerd, so this is totally something I am instantly in love with and want to watch over and over. The full short film is only available for a limited time online, so watch this while you still can.
A Train Arrives at the Station recently premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. Director Thom Andersen explains via Grasshopper Film the origin: "It comes from work on The Thoughts That Once We Had. There was one shot we had to cut whose loss I particularly regretted. It was a shot of a train pulling into Tokyo Station from Ozu’s The Only Son (1936). So I decided to make a film around this shot, an anthology of train arrivals. It comprises 26 scenes or shots from movies, 1904-2015. It has a simple serial structure: each black & white sequence in the first half rhymes with a color sequence in the second half. Thus the first shot and the final shot show trains arriving at stations in Japan from a low camera height. In the first shot (The Only Son), the train moves toward the right; in the last shot, it moves toward the left. A bullet train has replaced a steam locomotive. So after all these years, I’ve made another structural film, although that was not my original intention." Excellent. Andersen also made Los Angeles Plays Itself. To see more shorts, click here.