Parts Unknown

Ask any train hopper: Riding the rails can be true bliss. The feeling of pulling out of a yard after hiding in the corner of a boxcar for 14 hours makes the slow, dirty trip instantly worth it. And running out of water, getting shot at by rednecks, or losing a limb are risks many believe are worth the experience of seeing the countryside scene-by-scene from a rusty metal car. Riding freight trains is just about as American as apple pie, a middle finger to capitalism, and a true test of one’s liberties. Just ask Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers, or any of the others who have pennilessly traveled the country in search of something often unknown — “I'm a thousand miles away from home just waiting for a train,” Rodgers once sang. Although the mainstream often regards it as the domain of crazy hobos and illegal immigrants, director Sarah George proves otherwise. For five years, George rode alongside four self-sufficient souls who regularly hop trains, and her 2002 film, Catching Out, provides a picturesque look at the freedom and beauty of life on the rails.
Sat., June 28, 2 p.m., 2008

 
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