Scharf beobachtete Züge - Ostre sledované vlaky

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Scharf beobachtete Züge - Ostre sledované vlaky

The young Miloš Hrma, who speaks with misplaced pride of his family of misfits and malingerers, is engaged as a newly trained station guard in a small railway station during the Second World War and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He admires himself in his new uniform, and looks forward, like his prematurely-retired railwayman father, to avoiding real work. The sometimes pompous stationmaster is an enthusiastic pigeon-breeder with a kind wife, but is envious of the train dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš holds an as-yet platonic love for the pretty, young conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička presses for details of their relationship and realizes that Miloš is still a virgin. The idyll of the railway station is periodically disturbed by the arrival of the councillor, Zednicek, a Nazi collaborator, who spouts propaganda at the staff without success. At her initiative, Máša spends the night with Miloš, but in his youthful excitability he ejaculates prematurely before achieving penetration and then is unable to perform sexually; and the next day, despairing, he attempts suicide. He is saved, and a young doctor explains to him that ejaculatio praecox is normal at Miloš's age. The doctor recommends Miloš to "think of something else" (at which point Miloš volunteers an interest in football), and to seek the assistance of an experienced woman. During the nightshift, Hubička flirts with the young telegraphist, Zdenička, and imprints her thighs and buttocks with the office's rubber stamps. Her mother sees the stamps and complains to Hubička's superiors, and the ensuing scandal helps to frustrate the stationmaster's ambition of being promoted to inspector.

The Germans and their collaborators are on edge, since their trains are being attacked by the partisans. A glamorous Resistance agent (a circus artist in peacetime), code-named Viktoria Freie, delivers a time bomb to Hubička for use in blowing up a large ammunition train. At Hubička's request, the "experienced" Viktoria also helps Miloš to resolve his sexual problem. The next day, at the crucial moment when the ammunition train is approaching, Hubička is caught up in a farcical disciplinary hearing, overseen by Zednicek, over his rubber stamping of Zdenička's backside. In Hubička's place, Miloš, liberated by his experience with Viktoria from his former passivity, takes the time bomb and drops it from a semaphore gantry, that extends transversely above the tracks, onto the train. A machine-gunner on the train, spotting Miloš, sprays him with bullets, and his body falls onto the train. With the Nazi collaborator Zednicek, winding up the disciplinary hearing, dismissing the Czech people as "nothing but laughing hyenas" (a phrase actually employed by the senior Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich, the implicit retort to his jibe comes in the form of a huge series of explosions that destroys the train. Now Hubička and the other railwaymen are indeed laughing — to express their joy at the blow to the Nazi occupiers — and it is left to a wistful Máša to pick up Miloš's uniform cap, hurled across the station by the power of the blast. (wp)

Original Title Scharf beobachtete Züge - Ostre sledované vlaky
German Title Scharf beobachtete Züge - Liebe nach Fahrplan
French Title Trains étroitement surveillés
Other Titles Treni strettamente sorvegliati - Closely Watched Trains
Directed by Jiri Menzel
Country Czech Republic
Available Formats Blu-ray, DCP
Screenplay Bohumil Hrabal, Jiri Menzel
Film Editing Jiřina Lukešová
Soundtrack Jiří Šust
Cinematography Jaromír Šofr
Production Zdeněk Oves, Barrandov Studios Ceskoslovensky Film
Runtime 93 Min.
Language Tschechisch, Deutsch/d oder f
Actors
Václav Neckář Miloš Hrma
Jitka Bendová Máša
Libuše Havelková Frau des Bahnhofsvorstehers
Josef Somr Hubička
Alois Vachek Novak
Awards

Academy Award, Oscar, Bester fremdsprachiger Film 1968

British Film prize for best film & best music 1969

Grosser Preis am Internationalen Filmfestival Mannheim

«Sein in Schwarz-Weiss gedrehtes Werk über die amourösen Verstrickungen eines Bahnhofswärters, der seine Ausbildung auf einem kleinen tschechischen Provinzbahnhof in den letzten Wochen des Zweiten Weltkriegs absolviert, ist wohl eine der bezauberndsten und poetischsten Filme über eine Liebe in Zeiten des Krieges.» Luzerner Zeitung, Geri Krebs


«Menzel mag den Erfolg seines ersten Langspielfilms als Zufallstreffer bezeichnen, doch der Film, der Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs spielt und ein schweres Thema aufgreift, verbindet gekonnt Humor und Ironie mit fantasievoller Sinnlichkeit und zeigt liebevoll die Banalitäten des Lebens.» Filmbulletin, Tereza Fischer


«Glänzend inszenierte Komödie, deren Witze allerdings etwas zu einseitig auf sexuellem Gebiet angesiedelt sind, ohne daß dabei die beabsichtigte Konfrontation von Obszönität und Tragik erreicht wird. Für Erwachsene.» Filmbeobachter


«Hervorragend inszenierte und gut gespielte Komödie.» Lexikon des Internationalen Films

«Die nationalsozialistische Besatzungsmacht durchkreuzt den idyllisch abgelegenen Bahnhof in Form «scharf beobachteter Züge», die Munition transportieren. Umgeben von einem taubenliebenden Bahnvorsteher, einem erotomanen Signalgeber und einem müssiggängerischen Wächter versucht der neue Bahnlehrling Milos verzweifelt, seine Jungfräulichkeit zu verlieren. Erst die Widerstandskämpferin Viktoria Freie macht Milos zum Mann. Milos' mit allgegenwärtiger Sinnlichkeit und offener Lüsternheit gespickte «éducation sentimentale» explodiert dabei regelrecht in einem Akt heldenhafter Kriegssabotage. Knapp 30-jährig erhält Jirí Menzel für sein Debüt 1968 den Oscar. Newsweek verneigt sich vor Menzels «Geschmack, Phantasie, Einfachheit und Zartheit», die «die meisten amerikanischen Regisseure zutiefst beschämen sollte», während der bundesdeutsche Filmdienst 1968 entsetzt ist ob des «derben, mit schwüler Erotik vollgestopften Volksschwanks».» Zeughauskino Berlin

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