Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lionel Abelanski, Rufus, Clement Harari, Michael Muller, Agathe de la Fontaine, Bruno Abraham-Kremer
Written by: Radu Mihaileanu
Directed by: Radu Mihaileanu
MPAA Rating: R for some sexuality and nudity
Language: French, German, with English subtitles
Running Time: 103
Date: 09/05/1998

Train of Life (1999)

3 Stars (out of 4)

On the Right Track

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Can three movies make up an entire genre? If they can, then Train of Life is the third and perhaps the best of the "Holocaust Comedy" genre (that admittedly isn't for everybody), after Life Is Beautiful (1998) and Jakob the Liar (1999).

Train of Life tells the audacious story of a village, led by village idiot Shlomo (Lionel Abelanski), that decides to evade the Nazis by building a train, disguising themselves as guards and prisoners, and deporting themselves. But instead of traveling to a death camp, they'll be crossing the border into freedom.

As directed by Radu Mihaileanu, Train of Life plays like a lively farce, full of fun and life, but at the same time tainted with the horror of reality. Yet, there are virtually no gory images of Nazis or death camps. That terror merely hangs in the air.

Train of Life is a delightful 'what if' story that gives Us a little power over Them.

In 2012, Olive Films gave this film its very first U.S. DVD release, along with a Blu-ray. There are no extras.

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