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Sud Express

Director: Chema de la Peña and Gabriel Velazquez

SPAIN-PORTUGAL • 2005 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 103 MIN.


A multi-part multilingual Euro-wide series of tales about life on and around the eponymous high-speed Lisbon-Paris train, Sud Express is a heart-warming and thought-provoking item that fuses politics with lyricism and intimacy into a quietly compelling vision of a Europe whose much-heralded togetherness is till more economic than interpersonal. Co-directors Chema de la Peña and Gabriel Velazquez (both from Salamanca) set out to make a documentary but ended up telling six fictional stories about characters who live in the areas where the train passes. Linking the stories is the old-chestnut theme of loneliness and the way the characters use the Sud Express to escape it. Taken together, they add up to a fine study of immigration and the problem of casual racism. The directors have crafted a film whose pacing resembles a train journey: slow as it starts out, but picking up speed as the voyage progresses.

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