3 maggio


ore 21:00

Cinema Moderno

Viale Umberto, 18


ore 21:15

Cinema Mignon

Via Gaetano Benzoni, 22

5 maggio


ore 21:00

Cinema Greenwich

Via Sassari 65a/ 67

9 maggio


ore 20:30

Cinema Arsenale

Vicolo Scaramucci, 4

10 maggio


ore 18:00, 21:00

Multiplex Prato

c/o Centro Commerciale Prato Sardo

10 e 17 maggio


ore 20:30

Cinema Colosseum

Via Guido Rossa, 5/ 7

14 maggio


ore 21:30

Cinema Stensen

Viale Don Giovanni Minzoni, 25

15 maggio


ore 21:00

Cinema Palestrina

Via Palestrina, 7

22 maggio


18:30, 20:00

Cinema Palestrina

Via Palestrina, 7

24 maggio


ore 17:00

Cinema Corso

Via di Roma, 51

31 maggio

La Spezia

ore 21:15

Il Nuovo Cinema

Via Cristoforo Colombo, 99

7 giugno


19:00, 20:30

Cinema Esedra

Largo Mons. Curi, 17

13 giugno


20:30, 22:30

Cinema Massimo

Via Giuseppe Verdi, 18

15 giugno

Castelceriolo (AL)

ore 21:30

Cinema Macalle'

Via Marsala, 1/A


ore 20:45

Sala Tirreno

Piazza della Repubblica, 9

Ostia (RM)

Circolo Culturale Quattro Mori

Via delle Baleari, 85

18 giugno


ore 20:00

Sala Tirreno

Piazza della Repubblica, 9

19 giugno


ore 21:15

Cinema Sivori

Salita Santa Caterina, 12


ore 20:00

Cinema Palestrina

Via Palestrina, 7

2 luglio

Borgomanero (NO)

ore 21:15

Cinema Nuovo

Via IV Novembre, 25

5 luglio

Novi Ligure (AL)

ore 21:00


9 luglio


ore 22:00

Cinema Alcazar

Via Cardinale Merry del Val, 14

22 luglio

Montefiascone (VT)

ore 17:00

Est Film Festival

26 luglio

Asiago (VI)

ore 17:45

Gallio Film Festival

10 agosto

Tagliacozzo (AQ)

ore 18:00

Palazzo Ducale

21 agosto

Erice (TP)

ore 21:30

Elimo Film Fest

21 settembre

Santa Marina Salina (ME)

ore 12:00

Salina Doc Fest

24 ottobre


18, 19:30, 21, 22:30

Cinema King

Via De Curtis, 14

29 e 30 ottobre


ore 20:30 e 22:30

Cinema Aquila

Via L'Aquila, 68

3 dicembre


ore 21:00

Cinema Ariston

Viale Romolo Gessi, 14

12, 14 e 15 dicembre


ore 20:00

Cinema Araceli

Borgo Scroffa, 20

19 dicembre

Calimera (LE)

ore 20:30

Cinema Elio

Via Montinari, 32

1 marzo

Centallo (CN)

Cineclub Lumière

Via Vittorio Veneto, 9

9 marzo


Circolo dei sardi "Montanaru"

Via delle scuole, 13

Amelia (TR)

ore 21:00

Sala Boccarini

Piazza Augusto Vera, 10

10 marzo

Cesano Boscone (MI)

Circolo dei sardi "Domo Nostra"

Via Kuliscioff

14 marzo


ore 21:30

Sala Il Movie, Cineporto

Via cagliari, 42

19 marzo


Cinema Zenith

Via Bonfigli, 11

19 aprile


matinée Cinemamme

Cinema Aquila

Via L'Aquila, 68

3 luglio



Caffeina Cultura- evento DISUCOM

Cortile del Palazzo dei Priori

16 dicembre



Cinema Mario Monicelli

Piazza Garibaldi

12 febbraio


ore 20:30

Cinema Apollo 11

Via Conte Verde, 51

24 febbraio

Luino (VA)


Cinema Sociale

Corso 25 Aprile 1945, 13

3 agosto


ore 21:30

Teatro Civico di Castello

Via de Candia

Cadenas head_banner

      In that part of Sardinia which winds its way between the Trexenta, Campidano and Gennargentu areas runs a timeless train, whose passage is waved on by small yellow dots brandishing a green and red signal paddle, the level-crossing keepers.

A job that has been passed down from mother to daughter to niece for generations.

They are there to halt the traffic to let the train pass, just a few hundred kilometres of secondary track which crosses secondary roads travelled by cars, tractors, sheep and three wheeled Ape’s. Each crossing is manned by a woman wearing a fluorescent jacket, the train driver pulls a cord and waves. The train past the crossing keeper with a whistle and plunged on in a cloud of dust, disappearing round the corner: men, cars and animals are finally released from the chain the cuts off access to the tracks.

The landscape shifts from yellow fields to stone walls, plains dotted with cacti, forests and narrow mountain gorges.

Manning the level crossing is all-encompassing: it implies care, attention and responsibility and becomes an obsession that even overwhelms their dreams. It’s an ancient job assigned to women, who dedicate themselves totally to it with an almost ritual repetitiveness, for the entire day, every day of the year. The level crossing and its chains determine every aspect of these people’s lives: their wake up call, their lunch hour, their dinner time, everything is set by the train timetable, the long waits in the sentry boxes or in cars are a result of the train’s delays, the day’s rhythm is syncopated, uncertain, broken, while the gestures performed are always relentlessly the same.

The film gives an account of these women’s lives, the life of these level crossing keepers working along the tracks of the Sardinian railways: their life, their job, their relationship with the time and space of the Railway.

They are women like there are many others in the world, fighting for their rights as workers and for a better quality of living, while they live almost on hold, surrounded by an unchanging nature, where every element of progress represents a threat.

When I climbed aboard the train time seemed to swell and the space open up.

When I stopped and spent time with the level-crossing keepers, time itself became a slot between the passing of the trains while the space was trapped between two chains.

Sardinia, the part without the sea. An unknown place, an unknown tongue, with a natural landscape that fills ones gaze as soon as one leaves the built up areas.

I met the “railway girls” by chance, following up on a photographic reportage I’d seen in a magazine. And I found myself in Mandas, 50 kilometres north of Cagliari, a town that up until the mid Seventies was an important intersection for the Sardinian Railway network: all the branch routes to Arbatax and Sorgono left from here. Many railway workers’ families lived in this little village, the travellers would stop in the inns and eat in the taverns, the area’s economy travelled along the train tracks.

Mandas was one of the stopovers of every writer’s travels through Sardinia. D.H. Lawrence left Cagliari with his wife headed for Sorgono, in 1921. He described his journey in a book, “Sea and Sardinia”, which at one point reads “ a level crossing, the woman who oversaw it dashed out with great purpose waiving a red flag”.

Now the power of the train is little more than a memory. The company’s reorganization has led to the dismantling of almost all the branches of the railway line, in favour of road haulage. Only a few stumps are left of what used to be a widespread network built to link up all the villages of the interior to the coastal regions and therefore to the “continent”, with tracks which wound their way up the mountains and then plunged down towards the sea.

The level crossing is a magical kind of place, it appears suddenly behind a corner, or hidden among the vegetation, or on a mountain top. In almost all of them the old rail man’s homes are still there, now derelict and unusable, yet still the only protection when the storms blow.

I’ve met the women “manning” the level crossings. “Custodire”, which essentially means “taking care of” is the verb they use to describe their job: they are the custodians of our safety, they are responsible for stopping the traffic with a chain which they close while the train passes then open once it’s flashed past. The chain forces them into those remote areas for long hours, waiting for the few trains to chug by carrying the occasional traveller.

Describing the life of the Sardinian level-crossing keepers is like delving into a complex normality where each day is a kind of puzzle for which they have to find the pieces that fit. Their strength is matched only by their warmth and affection.

Francesca Balbo

Francesca Balbo

Francesca Balbo è nata a Milano dove attualmente vive col suo bambino