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Train of Life

A Feature film by Radu Mihaileanu

Produced by Raphaël Films, Noé Productions Int.

Release in France : 16/09/1998

  • Contents

Actors (9)

Production and distribution (5)

Executive Producers :

Raphaël Films, Noé Productions Int.

Foreign production companies :

Hungry Eye Pictures, 7ïA

French distribution :

AB International Distribution

Co-production :


Film exports/foreign sales :

AB International Distribution, Orange Studio

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Box office: Timeline

International releases (34)

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One evening in 1941, the dwellers of a shtetl (Jewish village) in Eastern Europe see Schlomo the Idiot arrive with appalling news: the Germans are massacring the inhabitants of the nearby shtetls and deporting the survivors to an unknown destination. Soon the same fate will be theirs. That night, the village elders meet to discuss how to save their community. In the small hours of the morning, the answer comes from the mouth of Schlomo himself: to escape from the Nazis, they’ll run a fake deportation train! By playing the role of deportees, train engineers and Germans all at once, they will get through the German checkpoints and reach the Promised Land.


I happened to be in Los Angeles when Spielberg’s ‘Schindler’s List’ came out. Seeing it, I felt two reactions: great emotion, and a strong conviction that the story of the Shoah couldn’t always go on being told in the same way, in the register of tears and horror. Back home in Paris, a historian friend got to talking over dinner about some Jews who escaped on a train during the war, an almost incredible story. He urged me to make a film about it, a somber story about my roots and people. ‘A comedy!’ I answered. He was taken aback. But I felt that the combination of comic and tragic would have an extraordinary effect. I had a hunch that this was the way I had to go. (Radu Mihaileanu)

Photos (2)

Full credits (12)

Executive Producers :

Frédérique Dumas, Ludi Boeken, Marc Baschet, Cedomir Kolar, Éric Dussart

Directors of Photography :

Yorgos Arvanitis, Laurent Dailland

Production Manager :

Thierry Bettas-Bégalin

Editor :

Monique Rysselinck

Music Composer :

Goran Bregovic

Sound Mixer :

Dominique Dalmasso

Screenwriter :

Radu Mihaileanu

Sound Recordist :

Pierre Excoffier

Press Attachés (film) :

Dominique Segall, Astrid Gavard

Production Designer :

Cristiana Niculescu

Costume designer :

Viorica Petrovici

Still Photographers :

Vincent Lebrun, Cornel Lazia

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Production language :


Coproducer countries :

France, Netherlands, Belgium

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Majority French (France, Netherlands, Belgium)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

1 h 43 min

Current status :


Visa number :


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Approval :


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Posters (1)


Festival Selections (8)

Istanbul Film Festival - 1999

Istanbul Film Festival (Turkey , 1999)



Melbourne French Film Festival - 1999

Melbourne French Film Festival (Australia, 1999)


Films selected

Sydney French Film Festival - 1999

Sydney French Film Festival (Australia, 1999)


Films selected

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1999

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 1999)

Selection (2)

Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted) : Radu Mihaileanu

Most Promising Actor : Lionel Abelanski

Acapulco French Film Festival - 1998

Acapulco French Film Festival (Mexico, 1998)


French Feature Films

Venice International Film Festival  - 1998

Venice International Film Festival (Italy, 1998)


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