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Train Birds

     Peter Lichtefeld's Train Birds is a little film from Germany that quietly, subtly, draws you into the unusual micro-world of the gentle protagonist, Hannes Webber (Jachim Krol), a delivery truck driver who memorizes European train schedules. He learns of a contest in Northern Finland, the First International Competition of Railway Timetable Experts, and arranges a week off work. However, a new boss says "No," and fires Hannes on the spot. Shocked, Hannes punches him out, and takes off by train and ship, through Northern Germany, Sweden, and Finland. Police follow after, as the wicked employer was found dead in his office. Murdered by Hannes?

     Much of Train Birds is a road voyage, which means, generically, that Webber must learn along the way. He does: that there's a world out there beyond maps, and that includes making time to romance a Finnish babe, Sirna (Outi Maenpaa). Still, the movie would be a cheat if Hannes never made it to the contest, so there's an amusing timetable competition, in which each Trekker-looking participant must map the fastest train routes. Cute! shipped immediately to Showtime.

(August, 2000)

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