Closely Watched Trains: A Movie about Revolution, but not Revolutionary

         The 1966 Soviet film Closely Watched Trains, dealing with station workers during World War II, is not a revolutionary leap in film making from a global perspective. This does not mean it is not a good film. It is actually a superbly executed, well-written and nicely acted film.

         However, it does not display unique camera work, advancements in technology, or technical development (the use of sound, lighting, sets, etc.) seen in other movies viewed in the class. The technical use of equipment had all been seen before; the framing of the shots is conventional, and while the setting is unique the story can be compared to many other coming of age stories.

         Though not revolutionary the film is not without its many merits. The plot time and again shows the confusion of war. The acting is consistent throughout and the lead is excellent in his role. The use of the camera to give scenes a compact, intimate feel adds to the relationships on screen.

         While an excellent movie, there was nothing displayed on screen that advanced the art of film making to a new level. What is left behind is a film made on solid ground with great scenery and wonderful acting.

Michael Belcher

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