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Oct 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm

The Iron Ministry

With J. P. Sniadecki. Part of double feature with Elephant's Dream. Debut of UnionDocs Surround Sound System.

Filmed over three years on China’s railways, The Iron Ministry traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, language and gesture. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. The Iron Ministry immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world’s largest railway network.


“[T]he best film about China in the twenty-first century that I’ve seen to date—was made by an American, J.P. Sniadecki, known for his work with Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. Following People’s Park (2012) and Yumen (2013), both documentaries on contemporary China that Sniadecki co-directed, The Iron Ministry compiles three years of footage shot during rides on China’s extensive railway system. A cow stomach is sliced into edible bits; a man puffs on a bamboo cigar-holder between compartments; the filthy floor is lined with cigarette butts and sleeping human bodies; a precocious little boy sarcastically encourages the crowd to piss and shit in the aisles.” – Travis Jeppesen, Artforum


Official Selection, New York Film Festival

Jury Award, Ann Arbor Film Festival

Jury Award, Camden International Film Festival

Official Selection, Locarno Film Festival

Official Selection, Viennale

Official Selection, International Film Festival of Rotterdam


Read more about The Iron Ministry

83 min

Born in Michigan, J.P. Sniadecki is a filmmaker and anthropologist whose films have screened at festivals such as the Berlinale, the Locarno International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Viennale, BAFICI, the Beijing Independent Film Festival, and at museums and galleries such as the Guggenheim and the MoMA in New York, the MAC in Vienna, the UCCA in Beijing and the 2014 Whitney Biennale. He is also a professor of filmmaking in the Performing and Media Arts Department at Cornell University.


Oct 24, 2015
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States
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