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Closely Watched Trains

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(Ostře sledované vlaky) Director: Jiří Menzel, ČSSR, 1966, Czech version, 87 min

This Academy Award winning comedy-drama about the troubles of everyday life against the background of war is based on a novel by an original Czech writer. It is the Second World War and Germany is losing on all fronts. The young Miloš Hrma has begun a job as an unpaid employee on probation in a small railway station. The station master, a passionate pigeon-breeder, has a kind wife, but is nevertheless envious of the tram dispatcher Hubička's success with women. Miloš's still-platonic love is the pretty tram conductor Máša. The experienced Hubička introduces Miloš to the facts of life, at the same time learning that the young man is still a male virgin. The idyll at the railway station is disturbed by the arrival of councillor Zednicek who explains to the employees that the withdrawal of the German army at all fronts is part of the military plan and the German army is in fact winning. Máša spends a night of love with Miloš, but the young man experiences a sexual failure. His solution is to commit suicide the next day. He is saved and the doctor explains to him that the phenomenon called ejaculatio praecox is normal at his age…


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