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In Transit

It’s all aboard the Empire Builder, America’s busiest long-distance train, in this meditative portrait from legendary documentarian Albert Maysles.

In the last film before his passing, Maysles, along with four collaborators, takes the three-day journey on the iconic Amtrak train, traveling from America’s East to the Pacific Northwest, capturing the lives of the ordinary passengers aboard. Through a mix of interviews and vignettes shot in the direct cinema style that Maysles helped pioneer, we get a collage of interconnected stories. From a young pregnant woman who is past her due date and trying to make it home before her baby arrives, to a single mother who is struggling to defy stereotypes, to a man that is brought to tears as he opens up to a stranger, the film deftly captures the human spirit at its highs and lows. As the train chugs across the country, passing through endless plains, sky-high mountains, and sprawling oil fields, we get equally varied accounts of the human experience. Some are looking for new lives while others are returning to old ones. Whatever the final destination, it’s the journey that matters most.

DIRECTOR: Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu, David Usui
YEAR: 2015
LENGTH: 76 min

IN COMPETITION: Best Documentary Feature
Thursday, October 29

12:25pm EDT

Sunday, November 1

2:40pm EST