Saturday, September 26, 2009

Train in the Snow


Vlak u snijegu; Adventure, Croatia, 1976; D: Mate Relja, S: Slavko Štimac, Željko Malčić, Gordana Inkret, Ratko Buljan

Veliko Selo, 30s. Children Draga and Ljuban are best friend, and Pero would have been too if he wasn't so greedy. Together with some 30 children, they attend an elementary school. One day their teacher suggests to organize the class according to the principle of a democratic community. Ljuban gets elected as the president so Pero becomes jealous. When the class takes a train trip to Zagreb, their teacher becomes sick. Thus, the children take the journey alone, but their train gets stuck in a snow storm. Ljuban organizes the kids to help remove the snow from the tracks, and even the rebellious Pero helps. In the end, the train manages to free itself from the snow.

Legendary Croatian children's film "Train in the Snow", an adaptation of the novel with same title, is proportionally sympathetic but dated and poor with excitement. Unlike the impressive animated film "The Elm-Chanted Forest" from '86, this film doesn't offer some kind of a special event, the narration is lax whereas the direction by Mate Relja is routine. The humorous moments remained the best in the story, like when scenes of gooses fighting where inserted during the fight between Draga and Marija or when the two boys scare their colleagues, who reenact a wedding ceremony, with skulls of horses. The most important segment of the story - the train trapped in snow - shows too late, only in the last third of the film, but holds the best adventure potentials, turning unassuming, fun and in the end even a little bit nostalgic.

Grade:++

2 comments:

Roya said...

I have been searching for this film for 20 years.. a friend just forwarded this site. Do you know if it is available on DVD?

Marin Mandir said...

No, unfortunately, there is still no DVD out. But you can find the film on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUOgXEqnwQ0&feature=related