Prague main train station displays car from Oscar-winning movie

The Tatra T model featured in renowned Czech director Jiří Menzel's 'Closely Watched Trains.'

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 14.12.2022 12:46:00 (updated on 15.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Passengers traveling through Prague's main train station, Hlavní nádraží, will now come across a special car that commemorates the work of famous Oscar-winning Czech film director, Jiří Menzel.

One of the cars featured in Menzel’s 1966 film "Ostře sledované vlaky" (Closely Watched Trains) now sits in the center of the capital's central train station, iDnes writes.

The exact model is the Tatra T 15/52 from 1951, and it replaces another car from the 1940s that had previously been on display.

The film, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1968, centers around a new railway worker who becomes involved with the resistance in World War II. "Closely Watched Trains" is one of the best-known works of the Czechoslovak New Wave movement.

Minister of Transport Martin Kupka and Czech Railway Administration (SŽ) Director Jiří Svoboda were at the station Tuesday to present the new display.

The unveiling of the Tatra car took place as part of official cooperation between SŽ and the Jiří Menzel Foundation, which next year will bring an exhibition of image panels showcasing Menzel’s works to Hlavní nádraží.

The car’s presentation is also part of the ongoing collaboration between SŽ and the National Technical Museum, in which old equipment “that documents the history of Czech railway infrastructure” is handed to the National Technical Museum to “preserve the cultural heritage of Czech railways,” Seznam Zprávy writes.

An illustrious career

Menzel, who passed away in 2020, directed several famous films such as "Capricious Summer" (Rozmarné léto) and "Vesničko má středisková" (My Sweet Little Village). His last film was "The Don Juans" (Donšajni) in 2013.

He studied at the Prague Film and Television Faculty (FAMU) before embarking on his long directing and acting career.

In 1990 he received the Gold Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival for his film "Larks on a String" (Skřivánci na niti), which was banned in 1969 and finally released in 1990 after the fall of communism. In 1996 Menzel was given a lifetime achievement award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival for his long-term artistic contribution to Czech film. He also held the French artistic title of the Order of Arts and Letters.

February 23, 2023 would have been Menzel's 85th birthday. The historic car will be on display until the summer of 2023.

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