Sompot Chidgasornpongse’s Railway Sleepers was shot through a period of eight years. This peculiar ride, all seen from the interiors of various Thai railway trains, is cleverly edited like it was only one long travel of a few hours through the country.
The camera takes a long glance in third class. A couple sleeping, a fortune teller doing her thing, a guitar player, a group of people singing, Monks reading. And the voices of unseen traveling sales (wo)men offering just about anything. Water, coffee, sandwiches, various objects. Everything at 5 Baht. We constantly hear them shouting about the various products they offer without really seeing them. No need to get off, everything’s here.
Chidgasornpongse, standing as a voyeur, with no voiceover, no explanation whatsoever about what’s going on, observes a micro society within the society. A beautiful chaos of mosaic proportions. We think of Fellini’s Roma. Eventually, slowly climbing to upper classes, the change of pace and level is announced by the traveling sales (wo)men as prices go up: 10 Baht
On the Railway Sleepers train, the journey evolves without notice into a social meditation. A symbolic, cinematic voyage within Thai society.