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Closely Watched Trains (Criterion Collection) (1966)

Cast: Vaclav Neckar, Jitka Bendova, Vladimir Valenta, more...
Director: Jirí Menzel
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Foreign, Czech, Coming of Age , War, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 93 min.
Subtitles: English
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Czech director Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains (Ostre sledovane vlaky) was the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1967. In the story, based on Bohumil Hrabal's novel of the same name, Vaclav Neckar plays a Czech railroad worker during the Nazi occupation. He undergoes several philosophical changes as he becomes attracted to the Czech underground. Determining at last that his own existence hardly matters in the scheme of things, Neckar volunteers for a suicide mission. Ordered by the Czech Communist government to return his Oscar, Menzel refused, opting instead to make a "repentance" film which sang the praises of collectivism. This second film has long since been forgotten, while Closely Watched Trains remains on record as one of the biggest financial successes of the Eastern European Cinema. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


  • U.S. theatrical trailer

GreenCine Member Reviews

Death to innocence by RMorris June 22, 2007 - 12:08 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Very sensitive, very well-told, if familiar, young boy coming-of-age story. His sexual education is a metaphor for political education, in the setting of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. The acting is flawless, the black and white imagery breathtaking, and the message is universal: the loss of innocence, whether sexual or political, is a good thing, it becomes the growth of individual freedom that comes with knowledge and wisdom. The message is as meaningful now in the age of faith-based fascism as it was in the time of the story, and when film was made in 1966.

One Word For This Film by carolynsearches July 7, 2004 - 9:15 PM PDT
1 out of 23 members found this review helpful

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.14)
93 Votes
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