Night Mail, 1936 (UK, Basil Wright, 24 mins, with script by WH Auden and sound by Benjamin Britten)
Train-Trains (Where’s the Track?), 1999 (Lebanon, Rania Stephan, 34 mins)
Fuji, 1974 (JAPAN/US, Robert Breer, 7mins)
End, 1992 (ARMENIA, Artavazd Pelechian, 8mins)
This selection of short films provides a broad introduction to our new series of screenings and activities Closely Watched Trains, bringing together Basil Wright’s classic short documentary made for John Grierson’s GPO Film Unit and Rania Stephan’s poetic ode to the lost Beirut-to-Damascus line, with Robert Breer’s beautiful animation Fuji and Armenian master filmmaker Artavazd Pelechian’s End. One of two films made by Pelechian between 1991 and 1993, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, it is a rare delight to include End in this screening.
Following on from our screening of Memories for a Private Eye in January, it is a pleasure to screen a further work by Rania Stephan. Stephan is currently working on a commission for the Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt Museum in Berlin to make a sequel to Train-Trains with footage that she shot on the coastal train line in Lebanon in 1999. We hope to be able to screen this new film at a future date.