Ostře sledované vlaky (Closely Watched Trains)
The best-known film of the Czech New Wave, Jiří Menzel's wartime comedy remains a classic
Writers: Jiří Menzel and Bohumil Hrabal
Starring: Václav Neckář, Josef Somr, Jitka Bendová
The best-known film to come out of the Czech New Wave, this adaptation of Bohumil Hrabal's coming-of-age novel won an Oscar and cemented then-Czechoslovakia's status as an emerging cinema hotbed, which lasted only until the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968 and attendant Communist crackdown. It remains a delight, a charming, bittersweet evocation of 1940s adolescent life, the small crises and triumphs of which seem to exist simultaneously far from and under the noses of the Nazi occupation.
Young Miloš (sweetly poker-faced Václav Neckář) follows his train-spotting father's footsteps into a job at a provincial railway station. Resolved to do as little actual work as possible, Miloš focuses on flirting with a comely conductress, avoiding the wrath of the stationmaster (who divides his time between lecturing on morality and tending to his beloved pigeons) and struggling to lose his virginity in the face of a crippling case of ejaculatio praecox. In matters both professional and personal he is tutored by platform guard, ladies man and part-time resistance fighter Hubička (Josef Somr), whose own amorous adventures climax with the rubber-stamping of the station telegraph operator's shapely hinder. Trains' sleepy depot forms a seemingly self-contained world of eccentricity, buffoonery and playful desire, which director Jiří Menzel (in his first solo feature) marshals into droll, airy comedy until the forces of history inevitably intrude. A lovely piece of work and a fine intro to both Czech film and Hrabal's writing.
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
• Also known as Closely Observed Trains
Video on YouTube
Movie Review: Office Christmas Party by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
An attempt at holiday humor is as flat a day-old warm beer
Movie Review: Underworld: Blood Wars by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Prague locations liven up the fifth entry in the vampire and werewolf series
Filmasia will be at Lucerna by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A horror film night is the highlight of the 12th Asian film festival
Movie Review: Bad Santa 2 by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Billy Bob Thornton is back as everyone's drunken Santa, but the sequel lacks originality
Movie Review: The Red Turtle by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Animated film from Studio Ghibli has no dialogue
Italian film festival at Lucerna by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Recent works from Italy will play for five days in Prague
Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Double story contrasts the art world with a grim crime in the desert
Festival of French Films to play in five cities by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The 19th edition of the festival has a retrospective on Catherine Deneuve
Movie Review: A Hologram for the King by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Tom Hanks fails to deliver the goods in a generic romance set in exotic location
Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A spin-off from the Harry Potter books offers lots to look at but a thin story
Get discounts on speed dating and meet other singles...
Prague City Tours in 23 languages!
Prague Airport Transport: Private, Shuttle & Limo-service!
Concert Tickets for Prague and Czech Republic
Czech Lifestyle magazine for young people
We help the young to fight cancer
Good Angel Foundation
IT advisory, development and outsourcing