On the train 南方，寂寞鐵道
DIRECTOR: Chu-chen Hsiao 蕭菊貞
★Busan International Film Festival 2022
In the early Taiwan there was a dense railroad system, making Taiwan once called the “Kingdom of Railroad”. Almost all villages were formed along it. In this railroad system, the last built railroad was the South Link Line, as it was located in the southernmost tip and the most remote area of the island.
The South Link Line shuttles between high mountains and the spectacular Pacific Ocean. Due to its rugged topography and sparse population, this distinctive terrain created not only breathtaking scenery but extremely difficult constructions, which eighty percent of the mountainous areas are tunnels and viaducts. Therefore, behind its beauty and splendor, perils and loneliness loom over.
Director Hsiao and production team spent five years making this documentary and exploring the stories of the engineers who built the South Link Line, the three generations engine drivers who are fathers and sons, passing on their spirits and guarding the railroad. Fortunately, Director Hsiao recorded the last magnificent and unsophisticated features in time before the electrification of this railroad. Almost all of the old trains and platforms in the documentary have become history and no longer exist.
Before the final operation of the old trains, we have witnessed a influx of people into the desolate railroad, waving goodbye as if a farewell ceremony, while bringing back their collective memories of growing up, and the romance of their own youth.
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