Havana/Kolkata/Mumbai/ Shanghai/ Travel by Train
Travel & Cities
Storm over Havana
Reel Duration: 5’30”
Havana is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial center of Cuba.
The first part of the reel was shot from and inside the Morro Castle named after the three biblical Magi; Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro.
The Morro Castle is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay in Havana.
In this case, the Spanish “morro” means a rock, which is very visible from the sea and therefore serves as a navigational landmark. The fortress was built in 1589, a stopping point for the treasure-laden Spanish galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World.
Reel duration: 5′ 33”
This reel was shot on the Monte Calle street; a famous street for its traffic, architecture and local life.
It is connected to Havana Vieja and Plaza de la Revolucion.
Today, Monte Calle becomes a sort of window where the humblest part of the habanera population lives on.
Score by Charlie Parker (Music rights clearance apply)
Reel Duration: 7’11”
This footage conveys the chaotic, rich and vibrancy of the streets of Kolkata (Calcutta), the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, whether it is in the markets (here the flower market) or in the very busy streets and alleys.
Yet, in this jumble of sounds and visuals, a glance from another time will stop you, will call you, and that maybe conducive to reflection.
As the poet Henry Michaux said: “It is not us who are looking at India but India who is looking at us”. We only reflect.
Reel Duration: 12’05”
Mumbai, (also known as Bombay, the official name until 1995) is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Mumbai has the highest number of billionaires and millionaires among all cities in India.
Home to many communities of fishing colonies, it also has the largest slum in the world: Dharavi, featured in this reel.
Estimates of Dharavi’s total population vary between 700,000 to about 1 million. Dharavi has an active informal economy in which numerous household enterprises employ many of the slum residents. It exports goods around the world. Leather, textiles and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi by the slum residents.
The total annual turnover has been estimated at over US$1 billion. Despite the poverty and the precarity of their living conditions, it is not unusual to see people celebrating their lives, through music and dances in the back alleys.
Reel Duration: 5’21”
Shanghai is the most populous city in China and the most prosper in the world. Like most cities in China, the discrepancy between the rich neighborhoods (mostly business centers) and poor neighborhoods where most of the people live is terrifying as shown in this reel.
There is a dark, stark and threatening atmosphere reminiscent of the new corporate architecture as seen in major capitals of the world, like London and New York.
For complement see Global World in the environment section.
Travel by Train (India)
Travel by Train
Reel Duration: 20’13”
“The train has always been the greatest dramatis persona in screen history. In fact, without trains there would be no cinema.” (Phil De Semleyen).
And India probably provides the greatest spectacle on earth when it comes to humanity in movement.
Here is a sample among hours of footage shot in March 2016 when riding the train across India, from Mumbai to Kolkata.
Travel by Train (Tibet)
Travel by Train to Tibet
Reel Duration: 35’05”
As The Qinghai–Tibet Railway, climbs into thin air across the vast Chang Tang Plateau, (alt: 20,000ft) Tibetan, Uyghurs and Chinese passengers make their way to Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan “Automous” Region. The 1,142 km (710 mi) section between Golmud (Qinghai) and Lhasa was inaugurated in July 2006.
Here is a selection of insights and panoramas taken from the train, in 2009 and 2010; edited with an original score by Jeff Trueman. (Music Rights Clearances apply. High Gravity Sounds.)
These footage were taken while in production for
“High Train to Tibet” (see films section).
This clip is in Homage to Albert Maysles.