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Drums and Trains


In Paul Winkler’s highly personal 16mm film, Drums and Trains, a seemingly innocent child’s toy train and the ominous sounds drawn from archival footage of a boy-soldier striking a drum are looped, masked and reprinted across the screen surface of the work. These techniques have been perfected by Winkler over a span of forty years of experimental filmmaking and reflect a fine balance struck between technical virtuosity and emotional resonance.

Drums and Trains is also marked by the repetition of the sound of the boy striking the drum as the emphatic forward movement of the toy train intensifies and becomes increasingly abstracted and disturbed as the film surface begins to blister and burn. The sounds of gunshots are heard through the clickity-clack of the train tracks as the final destination of the toy train is revealed: The Auschwitz extermination camp. The boy- soldier’s fateful drum beats echo from Leni Reifenstahl’s 1934 film, Triumph of the Will