Closely Watched Trains (1966)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Ostre Sledovane Vlaky

Czechoslovakia1966.  Filmové studio Barrandov.  Screenplay by , Jiri Menzel, based on the novel by Bohumil Hrabal.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  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

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