Fletcher, Abbe Leigh [Director], Su, Roter [Cinematographer], Livett, Ross [Cinematographer], Gholampur, Soroosh [Other] and Hauenstein, Sarah Laura [Film editor] (2018) Railwaywomen. (Digital Video Film). 2018.


The short film Railwaywomen focuses on a young passenger’s experience of a steam train, whilst juxtaposing portraits of her with the driver and guard. The three female characters represent different generations of womanhood: The young passenger – represents inspiration and imagination at the spectacle of the engine, a sense of wonder and a search for female role models. The guard – represents adulthood striving for vocational professionalism, a bastion of safety and communication. The driver – represents experience and empirical knowledge, at ease with skill and capability, engaging with a younger generation to ignite imagination. The film was made using a tactical and rhizomatic approach, as used before in previous Fletcher/Akerman collaborations My Mild-Mannered Mother-in-law from Mildmay (2013) and 7 Positions in 2 Hours (2012). Made with no budget, the equipment and crew gathered from Kingston colleagues. The cast draws on Film Maker in the Family (Fletcher 2016) approach, casting my daughter, mother and artistic collaborator. The film presents a crossing of paths, a glimpse of each character. The making of the film marked a particular moment for each cast member, finishing Infants school, retirement and moving to the South East for the Guard and Driver characters. The rhizomatic working process behind the film brought the cast and crew together on that day in July to make the film together presented both a challenge and an expression of collective will to produce something to mark that particular moment. Railwaywomen the short, centres on the only role that was not permitted for women (until recent times) that of the female steam train driver. Thus utilizing the iconic power of film to visualize this role and bring it to life, for the 6 year old, the image of the female train driver sparks inspiration and fascination.

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