Greenpoint, October, 2015

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where Europe Ends?

"89 mm from Europe"
Polish director Marcel Lozinski's documentary, 89 mm od Europy (89 mm from Europe), is more properly an anti-road movie. Not because it concerns trains rather than cars--railroads are roads too--but because it is about the part of a journey when you are not moving, although in this case, the world around you is.

The film was shot at a railway station on the Poland-Belarus border. Because there is an 89-mm (3.5-inch) difference in gauge between the standard European tracks and those of the former Soviet Union, workers jack up the trains and change the wheels to adjust. Passengers on the Paris-Moscow express (and other trains) wait it out. Not that different, I suppose, from the changeover Amtrak used to make in New Haven from diesel to electric--crossing the Pinstripe Curtain from the Red Sox to Yankee zone.

It feels like the 1950s but the film was actually made in the early 90s. You can watch 10 minutes of it below (with English subtitles) on YouTube or check out the full 12 minutes without subtitles but with credits on Vimeo.

The title of this post comes from the story and book Where Europe Begins by Yoko Tawada. Written in German by a Japanese woman living in Hamburg about a journey on the Transsiberian Railroad, I first read it in a Polish translation and only later in English translation. You can read an excerpt here.


  1. Looks like Ed had his way again.

  2. Ahh David. My heart does a pitter patter when I see this fantastic movie, even on repeat viewing!
    I will check out this book now.