Rail mechanics

The mechanics of rail, a film of 3 minutes to discover the jobs of rail in the 30’s.

The Museum of Britain in Rennes inaugurated its new temporary exhibition, “Express Britain”, on October 19, 2016. In the carefully designed and graphical setting of a scenography full of originality, it proposes the discovery of the history of the rail transport in Brittany, from its origin to nowaday.

C’est magnifique was chosen to be the executive producer of a 3-minutes film presenting the different professions of rail in the 1930s, pivotal years with the creation of paid holidays and the regrouping of the different operators of the railway in the National SNCF entity in 1937.

The museum wanted to highlight the different railway families and the great diversity of jobs. I chose a playful narrative process: a kind of game of the happy families mixed with the play of the goose. The game board looks like a railway, with special squares (switches, level crossing, …) and others which open like a kind of pop-ups and represent the great stops of the train (passenger stations , Freight station, workshops, depot …). When the pawn stops on one of these squares, the player must place a certain number of cards. Each card illustrates a job and is animated. The player, in voiceover, evokes the importance of the synergy between the various railwaymen, this great “rail mechanics” which gives its name to the film.

mécanique du rail
I proposed a graphic design inspired by the illustrations of the 1930s, whether for the characters or for the elements of the game themselves, with a limited palette of colors and the use of screens.

Before starting this project, I had only a very limited vision of the railway jobs: the vision of a modern traveler, with the images of Epinal of the stoker, the train driver, the gate-keeper. I discovered the saboteur, the brake guard, and all the railwaymen who had in their hands the lives of travelers and of their colleagues, and who often risked theirs.

Production: C’est magnifique
Writing, direction, graphics: Anne Viel
Animation of the characters: Nicolas Dufresne for Rainbox Prod
Voice: Solo Gomez
Sound design: Thierry Viel