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Friday, November 22, 2013

223 of 1001 Movies: Closely Watched Trains (1966)

It's 1966 and director, Jiri Menzel seems to have found a controversial but honest subject to cover in a movie all with the backdrop of World War II. The movie feels like many foreign movies I've watched. It's got this silent awkwardness about it, a taboo subject, and very blank looking actors. The lead actor does become more endearing as you watch the movie though, and you can't help but hope he finds what he is looking for. A perfect ejaculation.

Summary: Milos believes that he is destined for a job that provides a pretty easy life just like the men in his family before him did. There are other problems or well positives of being a man that he hasn't explored beyond work. After becoming a train watcher apprentice Milos begins seeking his first sexual encounter. After Milo finds someone he is interested in being with though he finds that he is unable to perform, and it ruins his first time.


Acting: The acting is from actors I haven't heard of, and I'm even unsure appeared in another movie after this one. I guess this was all their claim to fame. Considering it's well shot, a decent story, and now apart of the Criterion Collection I would say it's a good way to claim to fame. Anyways, the lead actor who portrays Milo honestly does it very well. The story starts out what seems a tad comical, and this is increased by the character's narration of his ancestry. He plays the character just as he's a real person though. He embodies this boy on the verge of becoming a man well.

Filming: The filming is black and white and the way the movie is shot is more like a documentary vibe. I feel as if I'm watching this as it actually plays out. To be honest, it seems like foreign movies do that a lot better than ones that are from America. They tend to pick up at a point in the characters life and then show it in this way that it plays out naturally, boring parts and all.

Plot: The plot goes to unexpected places in the movie. I didn't expect to end up watching a movie about a man struggling with premature ejaculation. For one because it seems like for the 60's it was edgy. It isn't only Milo interested in sex though, but also his fellow workers. Men and women alike are. What the point seems to be though, and I think it was well made, was that it wasn't what Milo could do sexually that made him a man, but more so the sacrifices he would make for his country in a time where things seemed uncertain. It turns out into something that is sort of comical and sad to one that is stronger in message.

Closley Watched Trains is a good foreign movie, and the first I watched from a Czech director. I thought it had interesting concepts and themes that I appreciated. I also thought movies during this time handle what could have been very graphic content in a way that was not too in your face, but very obvious in what it was alluding to. It also makes a good case for what makes a man and also how men perceive sexuality. For an hour and a half though it does run a bit dull.

Rating 6 of 10.


Closely Watched Trains (1966) on IMDb

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