Closely Watched Trains: Teaching a Generational Lesson

         Closely Watched Trains (1966), directed by Jirí Menzel, was an interesting movie to watch because of its plot line. While I understand that most of these movies we watched in this class were groundbreaking in one aspect of cinematic history, few of the movies had plot lines that were developed enough to keep that audience’s attention for the majority of the movie.

         The main character seemed to be taking on a lot of responsibility for a young man. He had a job at the train station that required his full attention and all of his time. However, he did not seem to be bothered with the time restraints put on him. Instead, his attention and exposure to the opposite sex seemed to occupy the boy’s young life.

         His boss’s sexual habit was realized in the beginning of the movie, in which he has sex with a stranger. After a young girl gives him attention and tries to have sex with him at her uncle’s house, the boy tries to kill himself because of “premature ejaculation.”

         Once the boy recovers, his boss gets into trouble by having a sexual affair with one of the girls who works at the train station. Sex, again, becomes a recurring experience in his life. When a woman arrives with a package that will blow up a train, the boy is seduced into having sex with the much older woman who seems to be turned on by his innocence. However, in the end, the boy dies the next day because he falls onto to the Nazi ammunition train after he detonates the bomb.

         I think this movie would have served as a generational lesson on sex because every time the boy contemplates sex, he is injured; and, once, he has sex, he dies. The plot of the story is what carries the movie, but the underlying and moral principle is what would keep a young audience’s attention.

Rockelle Gray

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