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Milos Hrama is a 22 year old Czech railroad apprentice in the closing days of WWII. His country is still occupied and Nazi trains continue to roll through the station, but he and his countrymen have more or less accommodated themselves to the situation. Sure, his Grandfather did try facing down the tanks when they first invaded, attempting to drive them back via hypnosis, but they promptly drove over and killed him. Milos himself has recently attempted suicide, but mostly because his failure to lose his virginity has convinced him that he's impotent.

When he does manage to get his freak on it gives him the confidence to strike a blow against the Germans, but the sabotage plot goes awry and he's killed too. His last thought, as he cradles a German soldier he's just killed: "You should have sat at home on your arse..."

Yeah, I know, we're supposed to recognize what a waste it was. But I admired him for joining in the family tradition of crazy resistance. He died a man. at war, rather than a eunuch in his bath tub with his wrists slit. Doesn't seem all that tragic in the final analysis.


Grade: (B)


Bohumil Hrabal Links:

    -Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) (Kirjasto)
    -WIKIPEDIA: Bohumil Hrabal
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Bohumil Hrabal (IMDB)
    -INFO: Ostre sledované vlaky [Closely Watched Trains] (1966) (IMDB)
    -GOOGLE BOOK: Closely Watched Trains
    -PROFILE: Bohumil Hrabal - the Close Watcher of Trains (Mats Larsson, ArtBin)
    -The Page of Hrabal (Prague Life)
    -OBIT: Bohumil Hrabal, 82, Who Defied Censors in Wry Tales of Ordinary Czechs (WOLFGANG SAXON, February 6, 1997, NY Times)
    -CARICATURE: Bohumil Hrabal (David Levine, NY Review of Books)
    -TRIBUTE: Pleasure principle: Adam Thirlwell salutes Bohumil Hrabal's tragicomic collage of everyday marvels (Adam Thirlwell, 8/15/09, The Guardian)
    -TRIBUTE: Reality Czech: Bohumil Hrabal's tales of ordinary people kickstarted a cinematic revolution in his homeland - and the Prague pub where he held court became a port of call for visiting dignitaries, including Bill Clinton. Peter Hames on the author of Closely Observed Trains ( Peter Hames, 2/23/01, The Guardian)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Bohumil Hrabal and Julian Barnes, in conversation (ICA Talks, 1990-05-17, Recording locations: Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, England, UK)
    -AUDIO TRIBUTE: Czech literary legend Bohumil Hrabal died 10 years ago (Pavla Horáková, 2/02/07, Radio Praha)
-REVIEW ESSAY: Novels of Bohumil Hrabal (James Wood, London Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: of
-REVIEW: of Closely Watched Trains (John Shelf's Shelves)
    -REVIEW: of
-REVIEW: of TOO LOUD A SOLITUDE By Bohumil Hrabal. Translated by Michael Henry Heim (Sven Birkets, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Too Loud a Solitude (Bob Corbett,
    -REVIEW: of Too Loud a Solitude (Michael Harris, LA Times)
    -REVIEW: of I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND By Bohumil Hrabal. Translated by Paul Wilson (Richard Lourie, NY Times Book Review)


    -FILMOGRAPHY: Bohumil Hrabal (IMDB)
    -INFO: Ostre sledované vlaky [Closely Watched Trains] (1966) (IMDB)
    -INFO: Bohumil Hrabal (NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Closely Watched Trains (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
    -REVIEW: of (Roger Hilman, Senses of Cinema)
    -REVIEW: of (Matthew Kennedy, Bright Lights Film Journal)
    -REVIEW: of Closely watched Trains (Andrew Pulver, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: Movie's history outdoes its story (Kate Connolly, 2/16/07,
    -REVIEW: Social Climbing Through Politically Turbulent Times in I Served the King of England: Money changes everything in this dark but exuberant comedy (Aaron Hillis, Village Voice)
    -REVIEW: of I Served the King (Philip French, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of IServed the Kimg (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)
    -PROFILE: Jiri Menzel: Closely Observed Trains (, Thursday 7 October 1999)

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