09 June 2009

En route to Openings

This is a sequence of the magical opening scene of Shanghai Express (see from 1:13 until 1:46), a 1932 film by Josef von Sternberg.
A puffing old steam locomotive, en route to Shanghai, rides down a narrow market street in a fictitious China and makes its way, unhindered and unstoppable, through a curtain of hanging lampshades and banners. Market stalls and people are moving sideways out of its path. Hens and chickens are fleeing before it. Now we, stifled by the locomotive’s steam and bedazzled by its bright light, also move to create a passage for it.
By way of this post we are also introducing a new regular feature, Openings. Every Tuesday, Dare Varka will bring you the greatest opening sentences of world literature (see the side bar).

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