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Sunday, September 01, 2013

Closely Watched Trains (1966) d. Jiří Menzel

Jitka Bendová plays the object of affection in the 1966 Czech film Closely Watched Trains.

Movie Review
Closely Watched Trains (1966)
 d. Jiří Menzel
Criterion Collection #131

  Closely Watched Trains reminded me of a Truffaut film crossed with an early/mid period Woody Allen film. In other words it is delightful.  Closely Watched Trains takes place in occupied Czech Republic during World War II. Milos Hrma is a sexually frustrated assistant station agent at the local train station.  He is buddies with the wily dispatcher Hubicka, and they are both under the thumb of crotchedy Station Master Lanska.

  Milos begins a relationship with the fetching young Conductor(ess?) Masa, but when he suffers an embarrassing set back in the boudoir he tries to take his own life.  I know, it sounds heavy, but everything is done with a light touch and there is plenty of humor.

  Closely Watched Trains is a testament to the existence of a Czech sense humor, which puts them one up on the Germans.  Does anyone have a recommendation for a German language comedy?  Anyone? No?

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