Tagged: independent cinema film culture

(1971) The Train Rolls On Chris Marker Le Train En Marche (1971)

First the eye, then the cinema, which prints the look….

“If Chris asked you to do something you did it: There was no question”, recalls Marc Karlin in one of his last interviews before his death in 1999.  ‘Chris’, needless to say, was Chris Marker, Karlin’s friend who he called ‘le maitre’. The task was to provide an English version of Marker’s recent film Le train en marche (1971) – a celebration of the Soviet era filmmaker Alexander Medvedkin and his mythical ‘kino-poezd’ – a ‘cine train’ re-fitted with cameras, editing tables and processing labs, that travelled the breadth of Russia to make films for and with the workers. Films made on the spot, in collaboration with the local people, (workers in factories, peasants in kolhozs), shot in one, day, processed during the night, edited the following day and screened in front of the very people who had participated to its making… Contrarily to the agit-prop trains which carried official propaganda from the studios to the people, here the people was his own studio. And at the very moment bureaucracy was spreading all over, a film unit could go and produce uncensored material around the country. And it lasted one year (1932)!

This train that pulled out of Moscow January 25th 1932… 

Medvedkin saw his kino-poezd (294 days on the rails, 24,565m of film projected, 1000km covered) as a means of revolutionising the consciousness of the Soviet Union’s rural dwellers. Marker hoped his recent unearthing would incite similar democratic film-making. In tribute, Karlin and other kindred spirits in London joined Cinema Action.” There was a relationship to the Russians. Vertoz, the man and the movie camera, Medvedkin, and his agitprop Russian train; the idea of celebrating life and revolution on film, and communicating that. Medvedkin had done that by train. SLON and Cinema Action both did it by car. Getting a projector, putting films in the boot, and off you went and showed films – which we did”.

The people were brought the filmmaker’s cinema, in the same way they were brought the artist’s art and the expert’s science. But in the case of this train the cinema was to become something created with contact through the people and was to stimulate them to make their own intervention.

…the train of revolution, the train of history has not lacked reverse signals and switched points but the biggest mistake one could make was to believe that it had come to a halt.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 16.52.05Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 16.52.19Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 16.52.43

A big thanks you to Espaço Sétima Arte for posting this great find.


The Last Bolshevik by Chris Marker


Click to access mayer.pdf

Preserve film culture and its history, preserve art, support Close-Up!


Support independent cinema film culture! An appeal from Close-Up cinema. Preserve film culture & history, preserve art, support!

“It is very important for me that those fragments of beauty, of paradise, are brought to the attention of friends and strangers equally.” – Jonas Mekas

In July 2015 we opened our independent state-of-the-art 40-seat cinema, film library and resource centre with the help of your continuous support. Thanks to you all who came and watched films on the big screen, used and discovered the wonders of our library, and expressed in so many different ways your love for our work!

Our ever-expanding library’s unique collection of over 19,000 titles covers the whole spectrum of film history and the moving image. Our film programmes explore the history of the medium from early to auteur cinema and contemporary artists’ films. And whilst all other cinemas are converting to digital only, we continue to offer the opportunity to see films as filmmakers intend them to be screened, on 35mm and 16mm prints as well as high quality digital projection.

At Close-Up we pride ourselves on presenting a distinctive programme of films otherwise rarely seen or unavailable in London. However, as the means of accessing and watching films have dramatically changed over the last decade, with the ever growing expansion of new technologies, we see a risk in the future of access to film culture, its exhibition and the general quality of programming.

We believe that if independent resources such as Close-Up were to disappear from London’s cultural landscape, it is a fundamental access to film history, culture and its unfathomable diversity that would be lost. Our commitment and dedication to present in-depth and uncompromising programmes to general audiences makes Close-Up a difficult if not impossible resource to replace.

The absence of funding means that our relentless work and passion cannot survive the bulldozing of culture by corporate entertainment and the growing complacent acceptance of poorer & more limited ways of watching films. The rumour that everything is available on the net is a myth, carefully curated programmes are becoming a rarity, and London more than ever needs serious resources like Close-Up.

“We must support these spaces and I cannot believe how they are disappearing in London. London is an important capital of culture it is not only a culture of capital.” – Jem Cohen

via Close-Up