“Because that’s what the Fuhrer wants. But we must like each other, because we are all in the same boat.”
In Czechoslovakia during WWII, a shy, bumbling railroad dispatcher (Vaclav Neckar) is more concerned with losing his virginity than with spotting espionage on passing trains.
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this Oscar-winning foreign film — “one of the landmarks of the brief Czech film renaissance” — offers a “beguiling mix of comedy… and jolting tragedy.” Full of “likeable, quirky characters, a strong sense of locale… and a great deal of charm,” the film functions as both a blackly humorous historical vignette and an ironic commentary on the travails of male adolescence. As in Jerzy Skolimowsky’s Deep End (1971), the story centers on a naive young teenager who is so obsessed with sex that it colors his entire impression of the world around him — and who is so distressed by his inability to “perform” sexually that he takes drastic action. The ultimate message, as Peary notes, is that males can “perform great acts of heroism… yet consider themselves failures as men if they get too anxious in bed to please a pretty flirt.”
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Vaclav Neckar as Milos
- Milos’ charming yet tortured romance with a fellow conductor (Jitka Bendova)
- “Ladies’ man” Hubicka (Josef Somr) stamping the date up and down the legs of a willing young woman — one of the most unusually erotic moments in film history
Yes. This is a must-see foreign gem.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)
Posted on March 30th, 2006 by admin
Filed under: Response Reviews