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n 1984 Jørgen Leth, cinematographer Dan Holmberg and sound recordist Niels Torp travelled some 6,000 kilometres by train through China. The result is a very calm, beautifully perceived travelogue borne by unprejudiced curiosity and observational ability. A riverboat in a landscape of sugar-top mountains in Southern China and the many shots from the train journey are the visual leitmotifs of the film, in which we meet an acrobat, a painter in inks, some opera students from the Beijing conservatory, and a group of female racing cyclists. The camera falls in love with exquisite tai chi movements and the dexterity of the train kitchen staff, and the soundtrack gives a vivid sense of the noisy life on board, with music blaring from scratchy loudspeakers. The fact that the film should be viewed as a collection of notes on film, i.e. a kind of travel journal, is emphasised by the title and by Leth's only words on the soundtrack: "I take notes because I want to remember what I have seen. I am smoking a Chinese cigarette and I am travelling on board a train in China". (In an English version of the film, which is nineteen minutes shorter, a further three notes appear on the soundtrack).

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