Closely Observed Trains

Film, Comedy

Time Out says

A real charmer from the heyday of the Czech New Wave, set during the German occupation but totally immersed in the pubescent problems of a youth (as uncannily reminiscent of Buster Keaton as the boy in Olmi's Il Posto) taking up his first job as an apprentice railway platform guard with the firmly anti-social resolve to do as little work as possible while others slave. Wonderfully funny observation of the sleepy little backwater depot where nothing ever happens, and he maintains his resolve while hero-worshipping a philandering older guard (who whiles away the time by rubber-stamping the hindquarters of a delighted girl), avoiding the station-master (who emerges now and again to cry Sodom and Gomorrah before returning to his pigeons), and carrying on an unconsummated flirtation with the conductress of a passing train. The Resistance beckons, but ejaculatio praecox is still his most pressing problem. An airy pointilliste comedy, but it celebrates a whole universe of frustration, eroticism, adventure and romance.

By: TM


Release details

92 mins

Cast and crew

Jiri Menzel
Jiri Menzel, Bohumil Hrabal
Václav Neckár
Jitka Bendova
Vladimír Valenta
Josef Somr
Libuse Havelkova
Alois Vachek
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