A comment by Stillwell on my post War Romances: A Very Long List led me to the Czech movie Carriage to Vienna aka Coach to Vienna – Kočár do Vídně. While it’s not exactly what we would call a romance, it’s a love story and I will include it in the list once I get a chance to update things.
The movie can be watched on YouTube as a whole in Czech and while I was a bit startled by Stillwell’s comment that we don’t need the subtitles, after having watched it, I agree. All you need to know is what is written in the intro.
The movie, which is set towards the end of WWII, focusses on one long scene, the trip through a forest in direction of the Austrian border and Vienna. The back story, as mentioned before, is written as an intro. Krista’s husband has been killed by Germans as he was suspected to have stolen something. She buries him and when she’s finished two young soldiers who know nothing of what has happened come to the farm and force her to drive them through the forest. The two soldiers are Austrians, one of them is badly wounded.
Hans is a very lively young man and chats constantly with Krista although she doesn’t seem to understand a word of what he is saying. The way this is filmed, the forest seems endless and as it is winter or just before spring, the trees are naked. A very bleak scenery for sure and the focus is on the three people on this carriage. As Krista is never speaking, we have to deduce her hostility from her actions and her expressions.
There is an axe hidden under the carriage of which the soldiers know nothing. Krista tries to hide it and to get rid of the soldiers’ weapons. Whenever the carriage stops for one reason or the other, she throws away something; a knife, a pistol, a gun…
The drama culminates when she is found out by Hans and he chases her from he carriage into the woods.
Where is the love story in all this, you may wonder, but that’s something you have to find out for yourself.
Not a lot happens in this movie. The protagonists do not understand each other but it’s clear that Hans is a kind man who has been dragged into the war and is on the wrong side because of his nationality. Krista who is full of hatred at the beginning of the film, slowly learns that not all Germans are the same.
This movie wasn’t appreciated in Russia, maybe even forbidden. It’s obvious why. At the end, the Czech woman and the Austrian soldiers, try to flee from the Russians who show no mercy once they get them.
I found this a very captivating, sad and impressive movie and am glad for the recommendation.
I’ll have to try and track this down. Tried to watch the re-make of Quiet Flows the Don last night. I gave up.
Was it that bad? I know the book – pr rather books – is huge, like War and Peace. I think it’s somwhere in a box in the attic among my grandmother’s stuff.
“Not a lot happens in this movie.” Enough said. I appreciate the review, but I cannot see watching this movie. I read up a little on it and you forgot to mention it was the “feel good movie of 1966!” Did you see the 75 minute version or the 115 minute version?
I didn’t see a lot of feel-good aspects.
I watched the shorter version. 115 of no-action might have been a bit too much for me.
There is no 115 minute version, it’s probably a typo (from 1h15 to 115min) that got replicated all over… Depending on the credits, it goes from 75 to 78 minutes.
I’m curious to know from whose pen you read it was a “feel good movie”?
I was joking about the “feel good” aspect because it appears to be the opposite. IMDB says the original is 78 minutes and there is a newer version at 115 minutes.
Apologies, didn’t get the tongue-in-cheek!
Imdb is wrong, anyway. The production was quite complicated, the film was demeaned by the official Czechoslovak regime critics (and not only because of the Czech partisans attitude in the end, in fact the whole oppressive atmosphere of the forest can be understood as a metaphor of the regime) and banned after 1968… but a longer version is unheard of.
Yes, this movie was forbidden for a long time in Czechoslovakia. It was called as an “ideological shameful mockery”.
Many really good movies and books were stigmatized like this. I think we are all still disocvering a lot of great works.