This Cuban “rail movie” beautifully depicts how film emerges on the cutting edge of light and darkness. During a blackout, accompanied by a lot of swearing, the electricity aboard a freight train is temporarily restored with a piece of cardboard and some metal wires. The tone has been set: life aboard this train isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s a male-dominated microcosm where conversations are loud and crass, but there’s also a sense of companionship. As the train thunders over the tracks, the camera moves through the sleeping quarters where men rest after their shift. In a messy kitchen, lunch is prepared in a big pan. Sometimes the train makes an extended stop. When the load comes in late, there’s a lot of time to kill. A game of dominoes goes a long way, as do the lengthy conversations about women, but eventually boredom sets in. The striking camera work adapts instantly to the situation at hand, the dynamics of the moving train glide into the dreariness of waiting, but things come to life again in the evening when a cheerful ode to loneliness is sung.
Victor Alexis Guerrero
Marco Olmos for Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television EICTV
Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television EICTV