No film has ever encouraged so much collaboration and executed it with such seamless tenacity like this one. Train Station by Collab Feature brings together 40 directors from across all the world to tell a single, universal tale of consequences. All of this is told through a single character, simply known as “Person in Brown” through cities such as Tehran, Berlin – and even our very own Kuala Lumpur – on a journey where each decision he or she makes leads to an unexpected turn wherever you look. One might think that with such a huge crew,(40 directors across 25 countries) that it would be a mess of a montage film. Despite that, it falls neatly into a cohesive tale, even as it absorbs all the different styles of cinematography, language and theme. You have more gritty realism in one scene, and the other a total absurdist fare of the weird and wonderful.
The portion of the story shot from our own backyard was commandeered by Tony Pietra Arjuna of Cuak fame. He added his own mixture of dark humour to it; slightly characteristic of Martin McDonagh of In Bruges, laced with our own Malaysian twist to it. The scene was bilingual, capturing the multicultural side of Malaysia, even though Tony himself says that it was not deliberate and it was only an attempt to be grounded. “If you’re in KL, there would still be Chinese people speaking in Cantonese even when you talk to them in English, so it’s only natural that I did that”, he said during the press conference.
The scene itself was actually first handled by Isazaly Isa, who co-writes and produces the scene. Having to leave the production due other commitments, he expressed immense satisfaction at seeing a project he left for several years come to life on the big screen. The actors in the scene are Michael Chen and Anrie Too, carrying a sense of suspense and impeccable comedic timing to their role (even though the subject matter in itself is pretty macabre.
“The story being told by Train Station is a universal one. And that’s how I think it’s very powerful, that even though these are people of different languages, ethnicity, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, all of it is till very much relatable to the audience”, Tony stated. When asked how a group of 40 directors could work together, the oft-repeated remark in the press conference was “it was difficult”. Some directors left along the way due to creative differences, but those that stayed ensured a variety to the collaboration nonetheless.
Train Station is truly an experience that must be had. More than it is a testament to a collaboration of people from many continents, its universality is accentuated by its audacity to be weird, unorthodox, but still a very human story while breaking so many film boundaries as well. You can still catch it in GSC Mid Valley; showtimes are available here and the final date of showing is on the 12th of July.
To find out more about Collab Feature’s: Train Station, head on over to their Facebook.