The Train of Shadows

THE TRAIN OF SHADOWS
TIFF Wavelengths
March 6, 2018
TIFF Cinematheque, Toronto (Canada)

A programme and year-round series of TIFF Cinematheque dedicated to experimental film and video art.

Doplgenger’s video Beneath a Starless Sky… as part of the screening program on March 6th curated by Chris Kennedy.

Europe’s continuing crisis of conscience around the influx of economic and political migrants is a central theme of this programme. Nika Autor, this year’s Slovenian representative at the Venice Biennale, and her colleagues in Obzorniska Fronta (Newsreel Front) have proven themselves to be vital inheritors of Chris Marker and the Groupe Medvedkine’s tradition of filmic political protest. The group’s Newsreel 63: The Train of Shadows deconstructs the filmic representation of migration by using images of trains throughout cinema history to contextualize phone footage taken by refugees riding the undercarriage of a train as they clandestinely enter Slovenia. Newsreel 62 reflects on the participation of two Syrian artists in a 1966 Yugoslavian art show celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, showcasing the relative ease with which objects (as opposed to people) can pass across borders.

In Beneath a Starless Sky as Dark and Thick as Ink, the Serbian collective Doplgenger applies a science-fiction format to 1960s-era footage of Yugoslav temporary migrant labourers in transit to Western Europe, in an inquiry about how these movements reflect on the situation today. Bookending the programme are Guy Sherwin’s time-lapse film Night Train and Jennifer Saparzadeh’s Nu Dem, a poetic film about exile and movement that returns yet again to the Balkan train yards that are a locus for both the Newsreel Front and Doplgenger videos.

Night Train (dir. Guy Sherwin \ UK 1979 \ 2 min. \ 16mm)

Newsreel 63: The Train of Shadows (dir. Nika Autor \ Slovenia 2017 \ 38 min. \ Digital)

Beneath a Starless Sky as Dark and Thick as Ink (dir. Doplgenger \ Serbia 2016 \ 15.5 min. \ Digital)

Newsreel 62 (dirs. Nika Autor & Marko Bratina \ Slovenia 2017 \ 11 min. \ Digital)

Nu Dem (dir. Jennifer Saparzadeh \ USA 2017 \ 9 min. \ 16mm on Digital)

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