Closely Observed Trains
1966 / Czechoslovakia / 92 min. / Colour
Director: Jiří Menzel
Václav Neckář, Jitka Bendová, Josef Somr, Vlastimil Brodský, Vladimír Valenta
This Oscar-winning coming-of-age story is one of the best-loved titles from the Czechoslovakian New Wave. It is set during the Nazi occupation but while the war, and the continuing violent friction between the occupiers and the Resistance is the backdrop to the film, and drives its dénouement, it does not subsume it and the focus remains on the universal trials and tribulations of young Miloš Hrma – girls, status, family, work. It’s this unique blending of the exceptional and the mundane; the martial and the hormonal that makes the film so eminently watchable.