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Chains

By Francesca Balbo

Synopsis

In that part of Sardinia which winds its way between the Trexenta, Campidano and Gennargentu areas runs a timeless train, whose passage is waved on by small yellow dots brandishing a green and red signal paddle, the level-crossing keepers. A job that has been passed down from mother to daughter to niece for generations.

They are there to halt the traffic to let the train pass, just a few hundred kilometres of secondary track which crosses secondary roads travelled by cars, tractors, sheep and three wheeled Ape's.

Each crossing is manned by a woman wearing a fluorescent jacket, the train driver pulls a cord and waves. The train past the crossing keeper with a whistle and plunged on in a cloud of dust, disappearing round the corner: men, cars and animals are finally released from the chain the cuts off access to the tracks. The landscape shifts from yellow fields to stone walls, plains dotted with cacti, forests and narrow mountain gorges.  Manning the level crossing is all-encompassing: it implies care, attention and responsibility and becomes an obsession that even overwhelms their dreams.


It's an ancient job assigned to women, who dedicate themselves totally to it with an almost ritual repetitiveness, for the entire day, every day of the year. The level crossing and its chains determine every aspect of these people's lives: their wake up call, their lunch hour, their dinner time, everything is set by the train timetable, the long waits in the sentry boxes or in cars are a result of the train's delays, the day's rhythm is syncopated, uncertain, broken, while the gestures performed are always relentlessly the same.


The film gives an account of these women's lives, the life of these level crossing keepers working along the tracks of the Sardinian railways: their life, their job, their relationship with the time and space of the Railway.  
They are women like there are many others in the world, fighting for their rights as workers and for a better quality of living, while they live almost on hold, surrounded by an unchanging nature, where every element of progress represents a threat.

Info

Production La Sarraz Pictures
With the contribution by MiBAC – Direzione generale per il cinema "Film di interesse culturale"
Distribution La Sarraz Distribuzione
Press agency Studio Vezzoli

Artistic Spec

Produced by Alessandro Borrelli
Director Francesca Balbo
D.O.P. Francesca Balbo, Andrea Turri
Editing Carlotta Cristiani, Bruno Oliviero
Sound editing Mirko Guerra, Alberto Gallo
Mixing Mirko Guerra, Alberto Gallo
Music Dario Miranda

Tech Spec

Film lenght 60
Original format HDV, colore
Release date 2012-04-30

Festivals and awards

CURRICULUM FESTIVAL & PREMI
aggiornato in tempo reale da
CinemaItaliano.info

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