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A young man follows his father's footsteps and joins the railway company, where he learns the job and has his first affair. Set in the country, during the German occupation. Written by
Michael Crew <email@example.com>
Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1967 New York Times Film Critics. See more »
The blanket covering the stamped girl changes between shots. See more »
My name is Milos Hrma. People often laughed at my name. But ours was a famous family. Great Grandfather Lukas was a drummer and fought on the Charles Bridge in Prague. The students threw cobblestones at the soldiers and hit Grand Grandfather so hard that he was pensioned off on one gulden a day. He didn't do anything after that except buying a bottle of rum and a pack of tobacco every day.
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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". Gorgeously filmed in black and white, each frame by frame echoes of a past when life was still mired in concealment and innocence. The story centers around a train station in a Czech, German occupied small town and an apprentice train watcher, Milos Hrma, who is confused about his place in the world. He is a young man and is approaching an instance in his life when sexuality is flourishing all around him and yet he can not comprehend it. Scattered throughout the film are leitmotifs that represent sex: the train blowing steam, a horse with a woman riding it, a skinless rabbit being fondled by a woman cook, etc. He is under the tutelage of a train dispatcher who seems a zealot when it comes to seducing women. Although he notices that the train dispatcher is a sex fiend, he does little to elicit help from him. The general thought of the males is that a young man should be bestowed with the foreknowledge and insight at birth. Thus, his inability to perform when his girlfriend Masa is in bed during a bombing causes him great existential crisis and leads to his attempted suicide. In fact, the war was subliminally to blame for his impotence. This isn't a political film but uses subtle innuendos to trace the history of a young man into adulthood. Scattered throughout the film are affable characters such as a pigeon loving, crap covered Train master, a noble, aristocratic woman, a benign, slightly insane, photographer uncle of Masa, and a Nazi ideologue who refuses to believe that the Reich is in ruins. The sexual metaphors are spread in gusty humorous episodes such as when the train dispatcher 'stamps' a girl's buttocks in a moment of ecstasy. In the finale, the boy is finally cured of his 'impotence' by a big bang, I won't give it away, you'll have to see this delightful film.
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