TRAIN AGAIN

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by Peter Tscherkassky

grade: 8.5

Peter Tscherkassky’s Train again is not simply a tribute to film history and to one of the most beloved and versatile means of transport, which has always had great significance in film. Train again is also – and above all – a tribute to the history of Austrian avant-garde cinema and to one of its most outstanding representatives. At the Viennale 2021.

On board a train

Trains running wild. Music, overlapping images, noise. A journey at full speed through film history. If it is true that Austrian cinema boasts some excellent works in the field of avant-garde cinema, it is also true that director Peter Tscherkassky is one of the most representative and respected names in this field. It is not surprising, then, that the theatrical release of his newest film should arouse the attention of a large number of viewers. And indeed, his Train again, premiered at the Viennale 2021 and dedicated to another great director of Austrian avant-garde cinema – the great Kurt Kren (1929 – 1998) – did not disappoint expectations.

Images in the negative. Two people wait on the tracks. In the distance the sound of an oncoming train can be heard. These noises soon become a harmonious symphony. The images flow fast on the big screen, overlapping, blurring, creating something unique. Train again immediately becomes an exciting, adrenalin-fuelled journey. A journey that reminds us of the many roles that trains have played in films and takes us through important stages in film history itself. While some workers are leaving the Lumière brothers’ factory after a exhausting working day, some bandits attack a train and one of them fires a gun at the audience in The Great Train Robbery (Edwin Stanton Porter, 1903).

In the meantime, the viewer lets himself be led by the hand on this unusual journey, lets himself be fascinated by the black and white images, by the noise of the trains, by the film running on the screen. Once again, Peter Tscherkassky has surprised us and created something totally unique. His Train again is not simply a tribute to film history and to one of the most beloved and versatile means of transport that has always been so important in film. Train again is also – and above all – a tribute to the history of Austrian avant-garde cinema and to one of its most outstanding representatives.

Kurt Kren, like Peter Tscherkassky, has always looked for new ways to tell reality through pictures. And he has often done so in a completely unconventional, surprising way. Thanks to them – and to many of their avant-garde colleagues – Austrian cinema has been able to make itself known and appreciated within the international film scene. New film languages thus become a universal language and all together celebrate one of the most beloved arts of all time. There are a thousand ways of staging reality. Train again is one of these many possibilities. And on the tracks, on board a train that runs wild, we can experience this first-hand. A journey through film history that in just twenty minutes conveys all its power and gives us immortal images.

Original title: Train again
Directed by: Peter Tscherkassky
Country/year: Austria / 2021
Running time: 20’
Genre: experimental
Screenplay: Peter Tscherkassky
Cinematography: Peter Tscherkassky
Produced by: Peter Tscherkassky

Info: the page of Train again on the website of the Viennale; the page of Train again on the website of sixpackfilm; the page of Train again on iMDb