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Ostre Sledované Vlaky (Closely Watched Trains)

Ostre Sledované Vlaky (Closely Watched Trains) (1966)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 4,704

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Movie Info

Czech director Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains (Ostre sledovane vlaky) was the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1967. In the story, based on Bohumil Hrabal's novel of the same name, Vaclav Neckar plays a Czech railroad worker during the Nazi occupation. He undergoes several philosophical changes as he becomes attracted to the Czech underground. Determining at last that his own existence hardly matters in the scheme of things, Neckar volunteers for a suicide

Sep 18, 2001

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (0) | DVD (8)

[VIDEO ESSAY] Jiří Menzel's 1966 masterwork of the Czechoslovakian New Wave captures the country's unique cultural identity via a subversive wartime story based on a novel by Bohumil Hrabal.

May 17, 2011 Full Review Source:

The absurdist fun resonates strongly in the memory.

November 15, 2009 Full Review Source:

An engaging, dry satire on the the pitfalls of laziness while doubling as a character study.

January 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

A note-perfect dissection of how male sexual solipsism and the world at large intersect.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Menzel's lyrical tragicomedy, which won the foreign-language Oscar, marks the end of creative freedom; it could not have been made after the Russian invasion of 1968.

June 22, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Fine, character driven drama directed by Menzel.

May 25, 2007

Never letting one quite forget we're in German-occupied Czechoslovakia and bad things are bound to happen.

February 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Meznel's greatest work, and indeed the pinnacle of all Czech New Wave films.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Filmed in minimalist style, it's far more interesting visually than most cluttered and clunky modern Hollywood fare

June 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for Ostre Sledované Vlaky (Closely Watched Trains)

A young man's search for identity, and getting laid, is interrupted by World War ll, dammit. Later on Menzel will remake this film ("I Served The King Of England") and it'll be a better film then, but this earlier work pretty well gets all the ideas in there anyway. There's an interestingly parodoxical scene where the hero, unable to "achieve manhood", as he phrases it, goes to a brothel to commit suicide. Funny, no? Yes.
December 11, 2012

Super Reviewer

A young man's burgeoning sexuality is a refuge and a distraction from the Nazi occupation.
Reading other reviews, I think there is a lot of context that I'm missing. I'm unfamiliar with Czech New Wave cinema or the historical contexts that must have affected the film's production.
What I saw was a slow film that didn't amount to much beyond a self-conscious sex comedy. I noticed the satire when pious men deploy religion against sexual urges; though the reality is the complainers are just pissed off they aren't getting laid. And when Milos goes around asking various older women to sleep with him to cure him of "premature ejaculation," it seemed more the matter for a college comedy than an auteur's tour de force.
Overall, I wasn't impressed with Closely Watched Trains, but I'm owning my own ignorance in this review.
August 29, 2011
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

One of the key elements of a true classic it its ability to weather the ravages of time. Jiri Menzel's dark comedy, Closely Watched Trains, passes this test with flying colors. Menzel quietly lampoons teen angst in a manner that's unique and tragic. Viewers have been laughing at this one for forty (+) years and I suspect they'll still be finding humor and relevance in it for a long time to come.
July 29, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Liebe nach Fahrplan (DE)
  • Closely Observed Trains (UK)
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