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86 Ratings

The Iron Ministry

Directed by J.P. Sniadecki
China, United States, 2014


Filmed over three years on China’s railways, The Iron Ministry traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, and language and gesture.

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The Iron Ministry Directed by J.P. Sniadecki
Filmed over three years on Chinese trains, it’s full of revelatory moments, and not only in its surprisingly outspoken interviews: the non-narrative stretches, which compare quite favourably with the more abstract portions of Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s Leviathan (2012), are pretty stunning as well. Skip this one at your peril.
June 27, 2016
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…These scenes, aesthetically powerful though they are, actually feel like an abstraction smokescreen of sorts; to my mind, the heart of The Iron Ministry lives within the series of deeply profound, quietly extraordinary series of interactions between strangers that the film captures. There are several giddily transcendent moments that wield this sort of Wenders-ian blunt force in The Iron Ministry.
August 28, 2015
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These conversations touch on aspects of Chinese society from a ground level in a way more organic and revealing than a hectoring exposé, capturing candid discussions on the status of Muslims, Tibet in relation to the country as a whole, factory labor and rising prices, and the prospects of representative government. In the course of 82 minutes the film covers vast literal, sociological, and aesthetic ground.
August 21, 2015
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