movie film review | chris tookey

Closely Observed Trains / Closely Watched Trains / Ostre Sledovane Vlaky

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  Closely Observed Trains  / Closely Watched Trains / Ostre Sledovane Vlaky Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
7.38 /10
Vaclav Neckar, Jitka Bandova, Vladimir Valenta
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Directed by: Jiri Menzel
Written by: Jiri Menzel

Released: 1966
Genre: WAR
Origin: Czechoslovakia
Length: 92

A young railway trainee (Vaclav Neckar, pictured left) learns about life, love and premature ejaculation with the stationmaster’s wife.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Writer-director Jiri Menzel’s bitter-sweet 1966 comedy used World War II as the backdrop for a rites-of-passage film, and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film - not least because it caught the optimism of the the brief period in which it was actually made, Dubcek’s Prague Spring. It’s quite a slight film and its political aspect - when the hero is invited to join the resistance - almost gets lost in the parochial detail and personal (extremely personal) sides of the story, but it has great charm. Menzel also manages one of the most difficult tricks a director can bring off: a sudden darkening of tone towards the end, when heart-warming comedy turns into sombre tragedy. And the acting is superb throughout.

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