A Year in Shorts Day 83: "Snow"
Some films have titles whose meanings are cryptic and vague, only understandable if you’ve seen the movie or have delved into its themes. Geoffrey Jones’ Snow is definitely not one of those movies. Released in 1963 to document British railway workers handling the UK’s Big Freeze, Snow is definitely one of those movies where the title pretty aptly sums up what you’re in for.
Despite being a documentary, Snow was nominated in the category for Best Live Action Short Film, which is pretty fitting. Unlike most documentaries, Snow does not really seek to educate its audience. It doesn't even set out to tell a story. And while there is a bit of a message in there, contrasting the comfortable conditions of the railway passengers to the hard work necessary to keep it that way, Snow functions more like an experimental film than anything else. It's not something you necessarily need to understand, just vibe with. (Be warned that the video below contains some strobe-like editing towards the end).
And Snow is definitely a pretty easy short to vibe with, especially if you like trains. And who doesn't like trains? Think of all the great movies which involve trains in some capacity. Think of all the movies which could be improved by adding a train to it. Snow features a lot of trains, and also a lot of snow, and frankly more movies should follow in its footsteps.
But in all seriousness, Snow is a well-made, entertaining film which moves along at a brisk clip, thanks in no small part to some skillful editing and a propulsive score. Experimental films were well-represented in the Live Action Shorts category in the 1960s (Snow was nominated in the same year as Jim Henson's Time Piece), and while Snow might not be the best of them, it's still a damn fine film and well worth your time. I never feel like I can do these types of films justice just by talking about them, but if I can get you to watch them, that'll be good enough for me!
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