In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our staff favourites? Let us know your thoughts!
#64 - TRAINS OF WINNIPEG
Made between 2001 and 2006 and featuring collaborations across artistic disciplines, TRAINS OF WINNIPEG is an ambitious transmedia art project by Clive Holden which includes a website, an audio CD, a book, and a feature-length cycle of experimental films.
Trains of Winnipeg - 14 Film Poems originally premiered at Toronto’s Images Festival in 2004. It has since been screened at film, video, and media arts festivals and galleries around the world. Its fourteen fragments mix formats, gauges and materials: scratchy 8mm, glossy digital images, hand-painted celluloid... They are linked together by a metaphorical train journey from the analogue 20th century to the digital present, from suburban Victoria to downtown Winnipeg, from heartfelt narrative to ironic detachment.
Experimental but accessible, these short vignettes are informed by Clive Holden’s own life. Nanaimo Station uses 8mm home movies to explore the idea of nostalgia and childhood innocence. Hitler! (Revisited) focuses on his brother’s mental illness, while Unbreakable Bones is a love letter to his ageing parents. Love in the White City, which beautifully blends wit and melancholy, is a poem whose repetition of images and words recalls the chugging of a train engine.
Some segments, like a Raymond Carver short story, focus on a single moment whose kaleidoscopic ramifications define an entire life. Others eschew narrative altogether, revelling instead in the hypnotic power of image and sound.
Despite its episodic nature, the cycle engages the viewer in one fluid motion, often accompanied by Holden’s relatable voice-over narration. When the narrative ceases to drive the images forward, music and sound take over to mesmerising, hypnotic effect. Like a train journey, Trains of Winnipeg invites the viewer to daydream and, without ever losing momentum, takes us to a different place than where we started.
- Matt Ravier
To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.