The closest film I can compare Engine 371 to that I’ve written about so far is Tyger, in that it is a short—about nine minutes—animated film without dialogue that made little or no sense to me, that I assume is primarily noteworthy due to the creativity of the surrealist animation. (Madame Tutli Putli is sort of like that too, but I liked that one more because the plot made a little sense to me rather than none, and because I was somewhat more impressed by its style of animation.)
In this Canadian short, a man receives a model train in the mail and proceeds to set it up. Soon a bunch of little people emerge from his model train landscape and set about building things and engaging in various activities, some of which I can figure out and some of which I can’t. Or maybe he’s just dreaming it or something—I don’t know. At times they seem to be in conflict with him—as when they, I think, make their way into his bedroom and try to tie him up like Gulliver and the Lilliputians—but he typically doesn’t seem very concerned, mostly just watching them and occasionally reaching down and picking one up to play with.
I don’t know if the specific things that happen in their dreamy cryptic way, or the order they happen, matters to some kind of plot, or if it’s all just supposed to set a general mood. Nor can I really say what, if anything, happens at the end.
Not really my cup of tea.
[Then I cheated and looked up online to see if there were any reviews or explanations of this short film. The brief references I found said it’s supposed to symbolize the battle between man and nature in building the Canadian railroad system, and how it’s been a mixed blessing of benefits and costs. OK.]