A Train Arrives at the Station

A Train Arrives at the Station

A film by A film by Thom Andersen | 2016 | 16 minutes

This film was a gift to me. I make no claims for it, nor do I offer any apologies. It comes from work on THE THOUGHTS THAT ONCE WE HAD. There was one shot we had to cut whose loss I particularly regretted. It was a shot of a train pulling into Tokyo Station from Ozu’s THE ONLY SON (1936). So I decided to make a film around this shot, an anthology of train arrivals. It comprises 26 scenes or shots from movies, 1904-2015. It has a simple serial structure: each black & white sequence in the first half rhymes with a color sequence in the second half. Thus the first shot and the final shot show trains arriving at stations in Japan from a low camera height. In the first shot (THE ONLY SON), the train moves toward the right; in the last shot, it moves toward the left. A bullet train has replaced a steam locomotive. So after all these years, I’ve made another structural film, although that was not my original intention. – Thom Andersen


ALSO BY THOM ANDERSEN