Cinema: Absurdity

Closely Watched Trains is a series of contradictions: a tragic comedy, a peaceful war movie, a success story of a failure. The failure is Miles, a railway apprentice (Vaclav Neckar), who somehow never gets his signals straight. The fault, shown in whacky flashbacks, appears to be his pedigree. His grandfather, a hypnotist, tried to stop a German tank by putting the whammy on it; his father, a railroad man retired at 48, has settled on a sin to his liking: sloth. Now, the boy prepares to ascend the family tree and take the inevitable...

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