This half-hour documentary focuses on Medvedkin and his CineTrain of the 1930's, a sort of mobile film workshop complete with post-production facilities, animation stations and a large laboratory. Traveling thousands of miles across the Russian countryside, the train stopped to have its film-makers document Ukranian harvest practices, steel production facilities in southern Russia and other industrial/agricultural matters (although we don't actually see any of this). With each crew-member living in 1 sq. meter living quarters, all individuals on the train were responsible for various odd-jobs and other practical matters in addition to their own film-making concerns.
Medvedkin's main objective was to illustrate the achievements and the errors of agricultural and industrial production by filming such practices, ultimately using the films as educational and critical tools for improvement.
Using archive footage and photographs, "Le Train en Marche" unobtrusively allows Medvedkin to illustrate how the CineTrain functioned as the means by which films could be given to the masses --in the sense that the people themselves are the foregrounded subjects in the films. Medvedkin observes, "the authors of the film were not just the film-maker and the cameraman, but the film could also bear the signature of the people who figured in our films".
Only the first 10 minutes bears any resemblance to a Chris Marker film, with slightly stream-of-consciousness voice-over narration on the origins of cinema as sight. The focus then narrows in on Medvedkin and two of his tales from the train that kept on rollin'. Overall, it's a very small film giving a brief glimpse into a rather large project, the innovators of which thought it would change the world.
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