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Closely Watched Trains (The Criterion Collection)
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- New digital transfer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
Top Customer Reviews
The real tragedy of this film however, is the director Jiri Menzel, whose many films have never seen the light of day in this country. A victim of the Soviet crackdown on Czechoslovakia in 1968, Menzel's follow-up film, the absurd and outrageously funny "Larks On A String" was banned until only a few years ago when it was briefly shown in the U.S. and had an even briefer run on VHS (hint-hint: a DVD please??). Clearly, Menzel was/is a genius whose gift was stopped in its tracks by the ugly spectre of politics.
Menzel, like his fellow film makers Milos Forman, and Ivan Passar has a unique and important voice. "Closely Watched Trains" is a masterpiece in its richness of character and observation on the human condition. There is not a single false moment, nor badly cast character in the entire film. It is a rewarding experience and one to savor over and over again. I don't know how many films can make that claim, but this is one film I will see for a very long time to come. I'm so glad the DVD has finally come out - I've worn out three VHS copies over the years.
Easily the youngest employee at the depot, Milos wants to fit in, be admired, be a man. He wears the uniform of a train dispatcher, but doesn't seem comfortable in it yet. While other reviewers have mentioned young Milos' talk of wanting to have sex, which is actually quite funny in its stark honesty, much can be lost in our descriptions. This is a comedy, not a prurient display. It seems that sex is simply the path Milos believes he must take to be a man. It is his naivety and honesty with his fellow railway employees that makes the whole deal such a riot. This self-created drama keeps his mind off of what is happening around him. Some may be offended by this, in which case I'd suggest you'd probably be happier buying a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD. Milos does show himself a man...and it has little to do with s-e-x. Very worth watching!
Some of the scenes are terrific--I liked the scene where Milos goes up to kiss the female conductor as the train is about to pull away and then...oh, I won't ruin it for you! It really is a funny film set in a heartbreaking time. All the more interesting that it was shot in 1966. Reccommended for comedy buffs and railway workers everywhere. I wish that sort of exitement happened on my train! :)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Story line too slow. Movie did not have sub-titles in English.Published on July 23, 2014 by Gary Norman
This film adds a quirky resonance to the history of Neo-Freudian interpretation of human sexual psychology in film that rivals Bertolucci's "The Conformist". Read morePublished on December 9, 2013 by Bartok Kinski
What's is life all about? Don't know, still looking. Closely Watched Trains is a new favourite. It is about the absurd which is about reality.Published on June 9, 2013 by Pauline Kreibig
This is a highly acclaimed 60's new wave movie that won the Oscar for best foreign language film. It established the reputation of film director, Jiri Menzel, and is considered to... Read morePublished on November 26, 2009 by Roger Boon
Jiri Menzel's `Ostre Sledovane Vlaky' has been heralded as one of the definitive films of the 60's, a deliciously engrossing `coming of age' story that mixes enough humor with... Read morePublished on November 13, 2009 by Andrew Ellington
It was a very good copy of an excellent film
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