Just one year before his sophomore film, Capricious Summer, would open the sixth New York Film Festival, 28-year-old Jiří Menzel made his feature debut with the story of Miloš (Václav Neckář), a newly minted train dispatcher learning the ropes at a small outpost in occupied Czechoslovakia as World War II draws to a close. The film follows Miloš in his efforts to lose his virginity and win the affections of an attractive colleague. He is egged on by an older fellow dispatcher, Hubička (Josef Somr), whose involvement with the local resistance movement is inextricably linked, for Miloš, with the promise of sexual initiation. The winning warmth and deceptively gentle humor of Menzel’s storytelling ultimately give way to a bittersweet lament for innocence lost and the ambivalence of wisdom in this foundational classic of the Czechoslovak New Wave, adapted from the novel by Bohumil Hrabal.