Train of Life (1998)

64% – Critics
93% – Audience

Train of Life Storyline

Central Europe, WWII. The village fool of a small Jewish community warns the townsfolk that the Nazis are coming, and advises them to build a fake deportation train to cross the Russian border and get to Palestine. Some Jews are dressed up with German uniforms, and soon they start getting strange ideas about how it feels to be a Nazi; others are infected with the fast-spreading germ of communism. Meanwhile, the Russian border gets closer and closer…

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Train of Life Movie Reviews

A superb movie!

Rarely does one has the pleasure of watching a movie that combines

melancholy, drama, humor and insight into the human heart as this one does. A superb cast does honor to a powerful script. All of those who loved Roberto

Benigni’s “Life is beautiful” will be pleased to know that this film treats the same general subject with at least as much humor and sensitivity, but with more depth. I was not familiar with either the director or any of the actors. I just hope we will see more from them, as I can’t praise this work enough.

Marvelous fable plenty of lively comedy , good feeling and Jewish customs

The village’s dumb named Scholomo(Abelanski) comes running and shouting that the Jews from near little towns are being deported towards unknown locations. That same night the Jewish council of wise men (presided by Clement Harari) is reunited to find a manner to save the villagers. They determine that people will be shielded from the horrors around them and somehow finds a way to do it. Then Scholome proposes an original idea, organize a false deportation train so which they can flee the Nazis passing the Russian frontier and escape to Palestine. Some Jewish are dressed in German uniforms(Rufus) and others posing as fake prisoners. Their efforts sometimes are pure fantasy , though with ruse they pull off the feat to keep the faith on their dreams.

This is a story about love, war and sacrifice , well starred and directed. Extraordinary movie with comedy upon an irrepressible group who refuses to ever give in to adversity and some moment is spoken in Yiddish and German language with subtitles. A beguiling and unique fable that celebrates the human spirit and the freedom. This amusing picture contains some of ¨Fiddler on the roof¨(Norman Jewison,1971), including violin performance , ¨Life is beautiful¨ (Roberto Benigni ,1997) and ¨The last train¨(Joseph Vilsmaier, 2006). Excellent performances by all cast, as Harari as veteran rabbi trying to preserve Jewish heritage against growing odds, Rufus as Jew posing as Nazi officer, Michel Muller as Jewish infected with the fast-spreading germ of communism, and Agatha La Fontaine as gorgeous youngster, among them. Emotive and hearty score melodically performed by Goran Bregovic, Emir Kusturica’s usual. Director Radu Mihaileanu tirelessly maintains the humorous ingenuity and shapes simultaneously hilarious and haunting comedy. Rating : Better than average. Well worth watching.


This is a magnificent film. Like “Life Is Beautiful” it manages to be a comedy about the Holocaust but also a sensitive and thoughtful study of it. It’s beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, superbly directed. I can’t think of a film I’ve seen this year that is more entertaining and more thought provoking. It’s a comedy, it’s a fantasy, it’s a musical, it’s a drama, it’s a romance, it’s an allegory and, yes, it’s a tragedy. It’s also wonderfully European with none of the predictable Hollywood cliches but with fascinating symbolism and revealing studies of human dynamics. But not the least artsey-dartsey. And how I’m tempted to give away the ending. But no! I wouldn’t want anyone to miss that cinematic fist in the gut. Wow!!! The whole hour and a half is crystalized in a five second closeup. You won’t be prepared for it! This is one of the few films I’ve ever given a ten!