Review

  • An overnight Trenitalia Intercity train from Innsbruck to Rome is the venue for three short stories that happen on the same journey.

    (1) An Italian bio-pharma professor returning from a day-long meeting in Austria is unable to use airline tickets to fly back to Rome and instead is forced to return by train. It's night and the train leaves Innsbruck. A scrambled time-line, surreal elements and the most exaggerated caricature.

    (2) A young man and a general's wife -- an impertinent woman -- travel in first class with second class tickets. Straight narrative, filled with little episodes, and the most humorous.

    (3) Three Scottish lads clad in white-green soccer fan T-shirts en route to Rome to attend a game are faced with the loss of one of their train tickets. Straight narrative and a view on the multi-cultural crosscurrents of Europe. It's daytime and the film closes with the train's arrival at Rome's Termini station.

    In the confined and crowded linear space of passenger trains, secondary characters bump into each other and that helps stitch the stories loosely together. Of those, members of an Albanian immigrant family --Roma gypsies? -- play parts in the first and third.

    Don't go looking for a strong narrative backbone. Instead take this film for what it really is, a caricature of train travel in Europe. Think in terms of vignettes: examples of the myriad situations that one may observe when travelling by train in the EU. The film is a sampler of those situations, but a concentrated one. Take it is a primer if you have not visited there. Buy your ticket and enjoy the ride.