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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>
In the opening sequence, the "German" tank shown during the anecdote about Janos' grandfather is a Soviet SU-152 "tank killer" of WWII vintage. 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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'Ostře sledované vlaky', the winner of 68's Foreign Film Oscar, tells the story of the workers of a small railway station in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia as WWII rages on and the railway is a target for Czech partisans. Young Milo Hrma is in love with the conductor Máa but is unable to perform sexually in his first time; the somewhat perverted dispatcher Hubička tries to help him while also ending up in a sexual scandal; and a plot by the partisans is set in motion to attack the trains.
This Czechoslovakian film stands apart from others in that it is a serious war film but has the feel of the silly spy/noir films from the Cold War Era, as well as a strange, more sexually charged but still naive style of comedy. There is not much emphasis on the comedy aspect, the catch being that it comes naturally from the situations presented; some situations actually are rather funny, with Václav Neckář portraying well the naive and frustrated Milo.
Sometimes it tries too hard (or maybe too little) to make the comedy come naturally, making it not work well; however, when not funny, it is still often amusing to watch, more so when you consider its sexual aspect in a time it was probably a scandal in most places for it to be shown this blatantly.
The movie is at times slow, a trademark of European dramas, but at only 93 minutes there is too little time to actually be boring. The talks in regard to the raging war are also convincing and very well done.
The ending is excellent, and one of the reasons I liked this so much. No spoilers here, but it was both unexpected and satisfying. A pity this isn't very known today.
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