Paul Tomkowicz: Street-railway Switchman

Paul Tomkowicz: Street-railway Switchman

| 9 min
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In this film, Paul Tomkowicz, Polish-born Canadian, talks about his job and his life in Canada. He compares his new life in the city of Winnipeg to the life he knew in Poland, marvelling at the freedom Canadians enjoy. In winter the rail-switches on streetcar tracks in Winnipeg froze and jammed with freezing mud and snow. Keeping them clean, whatever the weather, was the job of the switchman.

Part of the Faces of Canada series, Paul Tomkowicz Street Railway Switchman is a terrific portrait of those unsung, unnoticed people who keep the community running. Shot on 35 mm with a portable Arriflex camera, it allowed its small crew the freedom to follow Tomkowicz around at night in the dead of winter, something that would have been impossible with older cumbersome camera equipment.

Albert Ohayon
From the playlist: The 1950s: Television and the Move to Montreal

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  • director
    Roman Kroitor
  • producer
    Roman Kroitor
  • editing
    Roman Kroitor
  • producer
    Tom Daly
  • editing
    Tom Daly
  • script
    Roman Kroitor
    Stanley Jackson
  • photography
    Lorne C. Batchelor
  • sound editing
    Joan Edward
  • narrator
    Tommy Tweed
  • music
    Robert Fleming

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  • JohnRoskoski

    This film is so moving, I am Polish, and it just really moved me to see how well all the scenes were put together. The shot out of the department store, with the store display in the foreground was classic. As was the scene with the steps of the street car folding up as the car headed off. The lantern light reflecting off his face was so great!!! The dialog, his accent, all fantastic. Bravo for providing this great film. John Roskoski

    JohnRoskoski, 15 Apr 2016
  • sixam

    A pleasant film, although it is rather haunting with the mention about the massacre in his village.

    sixam, 22 Dec 2010