Train of Life
|Train of Life|
original movie poster
|Directed by||Radu Mihăileanu|
|Written by||Radu Mihăileanu|
Agathe de la Fontaine
|Release dates||5 September 1998|
|Running time||103 minutes|
Train of Life (in French Train de Vie, in Romanian Trenul vieţii) is a tragicomedy film by France, Belgium, Netherlands, Israel and Romania made in 1998 in the French language. It tells the story of an eastern European Jewish village's plan to escape the Holocaust.
The movie starts off with a man, named Schlomo (Lionel Abelanski), running crazily through a forest, with his voice playing in the background, saying that he has seen the horror of the Nazis in a nearby town, and he must tell the others. Once he gets into town, he informs the rabbi, and together they run through the town and once they have got enough people together, they hold a town meeting. At first, many of the men do not believe the horrors they are being told, and many criticize Schlomo, for he is the town lunatic, and who could possibly believe him? But the rabbi believes him, and then they try to tackle the problem of the coming terrors. Amidst the pondering and the arguing, Schlomo suggests that they build a train, so they can escape by deporting themselves. Some of their members pretend to be Nazis in order to ostensibly transport them to a concentration camp, when in reality, they are going to Palestine. Thus the Train of Life is born.
The movie ends with the voiceover of Schlomo himself, who tells the stories of his companions after the arrival of the train. At first, we can see his face very close and then the camera makes a slow back motion, this enlaging the field of the screen, showing him between grinning and smiling behind the barbed wire of a concentration camp, the spectators understanding that he became mad because of the pain of seeing most his companions exterminated.
The movie was not a box office success in the USA.
Stefan Steinberg of the World Socialist Web Site commented that Roberto Benigni had turned down an offer to play the role of Schlomo in Mihaileanu's film to focus on Life is Beautiful and claimed that Train of Life is "a far better film". Steinberg was impressed by "the immense affection and care with which Mihaileanu has recreated the life and self deprecating humour of the Jewish villagers".
- "Bone Collector Makes Winning Debut". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Steinberg, Stefan. ""Not to banalise, not to rewrite, but to keep the discussion going": Radu Mihaileaunu's Train of Life". World Socialist Web Site. International Committee of the Fourth International. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
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