What if you could take a train in São Bento station, right in the heart of Porto, and go all the way to Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam? “On the move” goes on the longest train journey in the world - 17 thousand kilometres across 11 countries - telling the story of a life on a train, but also the life of a micro-society on the move. By starting conversations with a smile, sometimes without the language of words in common, the truth of our oneness becomes undeniable. The love of a stranger feels like any other love, so there must be only one love, is that not so?
Reflecting on identity and going deeper into love and life stories, this film is an ode to human beauty and the simplicity of its complexity. While the world appears to be entirely divided, the celebration of our differences is as important as the reminder that we are all, figuratively and literally, connected.
The fact itself is inspiring, enough to make you daydream about wild adventures out there: it is possible to go from the north of Portugal to the south of Vietnam in 15 days, hoping in and out of trains, crossing Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia and China. On such a long and multicultural ride, who and what can be found? Inside every train a different face, a different language.
What is the tattooed guy sitting across me on an open wagon in the middle of Russia trying to tell me with the drawings on my diary? What is his story? What connects him with a couple travelling back to France after summer vacations in Portugal? What connects us all? “On the move” exists inside these trains, eyes and heart wide open to tell the story of this journey and the story of all the people and the places met along the way. How do they see themselves? “If only we smile at another person, we just change this world”, Yulia, a young Ukrainian is as convinced about the simplicity of the world as Le Van Duc, Vietnamese, is about who he is: “Me? You can see I am an old man, a very old man”. This ordinary - yet, extraordinary – people, their stories and thoughts are what this film aims to portray.
A Chinese woman singing an unrecognisable song with an exotic landscape on the back. Suddenly, we are inside a tunnel and all goes black. When we come back into the light we are somewhere in Europe, listening to Xavier and Nora singing Back to Black from Amy Winehouse. Crowds moving in what seems to be a disorderly movement. Towards were? Some back home, others to a new home. Some with the love of their lives, others to be reunited with theirs. You are invited on a journey. Immerse yourself in the rhythm, visual identity and pace of this life inside of trains across the world. Hear the sounds of the car on the tracks, sounds of unrecognisable conversations, noises and silences. Look out the moving window, as the scenic landscapes, train stations and their particularities change by the minute. Everything changes by the minute, life becomes timeless. As it is.
Inside the Trans Siberian, time started to feel different. It was as if it didn’t matter what day it was or what time zone; what hour of the day or what minute of the hour, as long as light dictated morning and coffee time - which everyday was welcomed and shared by and with a new set of eyes, a new smile. I didn’t realise then, but that was the foundation for the freedom I was seeking: the freedom that comes from living in the now, in absolute awareness of your connectedness with all there is.
We most definitely are all, figuratively and literally, connected.