A train travels across Italy toward Rome. On board is a professor who daydreams a conversation with a love that never was, a family of Albanian refugees who switch trains and steal a ticket, three brash Scottish soccer fans en route to a match, and a complaining widow traveling to a memorial service for her late husband who’s accompanied by a community-service volunteer who’s assisting her. Interactions among these Europeans turn on class and nationalism, courtesy and rudeness, and opportunities for kindness. —IMDb
Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career as a filmmaker at the age of 30. Since then he has made many movies and has become one of the most important figures in contemporary Iranian film. He is also a major figure in the arts world, and has had numerous gallery exhibitions of his photography, short films and poetry. He is an iconic figure for what he has done, and he has achieved it all by believing in the arts and the creativity of his mind. —World Cinema Foundation
Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it’s virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context. After studying law at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, he branched out into the theater, performing with a touring repertory company. This led to television, where in alliance with producer ‘Tony Garnett’ he produced a series of docudramas, most notably the devastating “Cathy Come Home” episode of “The Wednesday Play” (1964), whose impact was so massive that it led directly to a change in the homeless laws. He made his feature debut Poor Cow (1967) the following year, and with “Kes”, he produced what is now acclaimed as one of the finest films ever made in Britain. However, the following two decades saw his career in the doldrums with his films poorly distributed (despite the obvious quality of work such as The Gamekeeper (1968) (TV) and Looks and Smiles (1981… read more
The death of his father during the Second World War led Ermanno Olmi to seek work at an early age. From the age of 18, he worked as a factory clerk, a position he would occupy for nearly ten years. Ironically, factory life would also enable Olmi to discover his true vocation when he became involved in industrial film production for the Edison-Volta company. From 1953 to 1961, Olmi was involved in the making of at least forty documentary shorts. His first feature Time Stood Still was initially commissioned as a short documentary on a hydroelectric dam built in the Italian Alps. The resulting film was an unusual two-character “chamber piece”; the chamber being a cabin in the snow-bound Alps which housed a middle-aged watchman and a younger man who joins him as a temporary replacement.
Already visible is Olmi’s detailed minimalism, a style which evokes the richness of the small forgotten moments of everyday life. His first international success, and most influential film, was his second… read more