Trains of Thoughts

Timo Novotny, 84 min, Austria.

Trains of Thoughts is an audio-visual essay, which reflects upon and compares metro systems around the world. It is an exploration of a world inside the world as well as feelings, fascination, obsession, fear and themes – of survival, control and silence – that revolve it.Director Timo Novotny goes underground in six major cities, comparing the societies through their subway systems. In New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow and Vienna, he observes the passengers as well as musicians and other “residents” of these underworlds. They are sometimes quite literally cut off from the world above them (there’s no phone or Internet connection in the New York subway, for example). For some people it’s a means of transport, while for others it’s a moment to catch their breath and just be. “When I’m in the subway, I can finally focus,” says a New Yorker. The shots of people in and around the trains are accompanied by interviews and voice-overs intercut with stylized imagery, dynamic music and scenes of empty or packed platforms and stairways. And there are the tunnels through which the trains travel – the veins of the city, of vital importance for healthy circulation. And who is that man moving along the walls of the subway tunnels?