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'Train of Life'

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 19, 1999

   


In this less-than-scintillating spin on "Life Is Beautiful," written and directed by Radu Mihaileanu, residents of a French shtetl village learn that Nazis are on the verge of deporting them. In desperate response, the villagers (played by Lionel Abelanski, Clement Harari, Michel Miuller and others) find a rundown train that they paint and decorate to resemble a Nazi transport.

After securing some Nazi uniforms, they select some residents to pose as Nazi guards. Then, after loading themselves onto the train, they set off, trying to keep a step ahead of the real Nazis. The movie has a strange, dreamlike quality, a sort of musical, zany air to it. There's a reason for this, which cannot be divulged. But when that reason becomes apparent, it doesn't render the movie in a new light so much as bring it even further down.

TRAIN OF LIFE (R, 103 minutes) – Contains violence and strong language.


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


 
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