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Czechoslovakia, in the last stages of the second world war. Milos Hrma has one big ambition in life: To become a train dispatcher so that he can lead a leisurely lifestyle with little work. So he starts working at the local train station, where he meets train dispatcher Hubička, who divides his time between lazing around and hitting on the telegraphist, and the station master, who seems more interested in his geese and in condemning Hubička's exploits than the train service. Meanwhile, Milos' girlfriend Masa wishes to take their relationship further. Finally, the occupation forces pressure the people at the station to keep a close eye on all passing trains to prevent partisans taking out supply trains.
Sadly for Milos and Masa, they seem to be unable to consumate their relationship at first, and when they actually get the chance to spend a night together, Milos is unable to perform. Depressed, he considers himself not to be a real man and tries to commit suicide, but is brought to hospital before he bleeds to death. There, a certain Dr. Brabec explains to him that his "performance problems" are fairly common at his age, giving him some hints on avoiding this and proposing he seek the aid of a mature woman to overcome his anxiety.
Concurrently, Hubička and the telegraphist carry their affair further, which leads to an official investigation. When Milos returns to the station, asking all of his colleagues about whether they might be able to aid in his search for an experienced woman, things become even more complicated: The people from the station get involved in a plot to bomb an ammunition train that will pass through their station. A major stage of this plot is the arrival of artiste and guerilla figher Viktoria Freie, who delivers the bomb to be used in the plot. She stays at the station overnight, helping Milos lose his virginity. The next day, all things come together: The railroad officals arrive for the final hearing of the case about Hubička and the telegrapher's affair. When Milos steals away from the hearing, the bomb in hand, he meets Masa and tells her that he has to do something and will be right back. He successfully drops the bomb on the train, but is shot by a guard on the train. Meanwhile, the hearing has finished, and when the officials leave the station, they arrive just in time to see the ammunition train exploding some way off.
Closely Watched Trains, or Ostře sledované vlaky, is a 1966 Czech film by Jiří Menzel. It has won several international awards, including an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1967. It merges a typical Coming of Age Story with large amounts of humor and a somewhat uncommon war story.
- Benevolent Boss: The station master, even with his Grumpy Old Man antics.
- The Casanova: Hubička is remarkably succesful with women. This draws the ire of his boss.
- Coming of Age Story: For Milos. Implies Character Development.
- Hypocritical Humber: Every so often. The station master flirting with the telegraphist when he called Hubička amoral for doing so is an example. Also, the stories one of the trains drivers and the station master tell each other.
- Interrupted Suicide: Milos attempts suicide after the embarassing night with Masa. A worker discovers him by accident, and he is taken to hospital.
- La Résistance: The partisans, although we don't see much of them.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: After going through Moment Killer after Moment Killer, Milos and Masa get some time together, but Milos is somewhat oversensitive, so things don't go anywhere.
- Married to the Job: Milos, even if it's downplayed.
- Mrs. Robinson: Played with. Milos is looking for one, but is unsuccessful until Viktoria turns up.
- Naive Newcomer: The film starts with Milos getting ready for his first day at the station.
- Official Couple: Milos and Masa.
- Pre-Climax Climax: Milos and Viktoria's night together
- Second World War: The setting. In particular, the people from the train station are required to closely watch the trains to prevent partisan attacks.
- Sex As a Rite of Passage: It's certainly important for Milos.
- Sexy Secretary: The telegraphist.
- Think Unsexy Thoughts: What Dr. Brabec proposes Milos to deal with his premature ejaculation problems.
- Those Wacky Nazis: It plays in occupied Czechoslovakia, so this is a given. Councilor Zednicek is a nazi collaborator.
- Who's Watching the Store?: Addressed. Milos takes Hubička's place while he indulges in his affair with the telegrapher.