Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Ostre Sledovane Vlaky
Czechoslovakia, 1966. Filmové studio Barrandov. Screenplay by Bohumil Hrabal, Jiri Menzel, based on the novel by Bohumil Hrabal. Cinematography by Jaromir Sofr. Produced by Zdenek Oves. Music by Jir Sust. Production Design by Oldrich Bosak. Costume Design by Olga Dimitrovova. Film Editing by Jirina Lukesova. Podcast: My Criterions.
Jiri Menzel’s Oscar winning film is a poignant observation of the loss of innocence in a world going mad. A young man in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia goes and works a simple job as a train dispatcher in order to live the easy life that has been enjoyed by his early-retired father. He quickly finds himself growing attracted to the beautiful young women who frequent the place, plus learns about the world around him when he is recruited to help in the Czech resistance. Slow and methodical, the film is richly photographed and brought to life by miniscule observations of human behaviour; the end result is a devastating message about the impossibility of simple youthful folly in a cruel, warring world.
The Criterion Collection: #131
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language-Foreign Film