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Czechoslovakia 1964
Directed by
Jan Kadar / Elmar Klos
128 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Shop On Main Street

The Shop On Main Street won Best Foreign Film at the 1965 Oscars, the first film from a Communist bloc country ever to do so. One can see why it pleased the, as it both represents the moral mechanics of conformism and self-interest that facilitated the rise of Fascist (and by implication general) anti-semitism and offers a whimsical picture of the likeable, if pathetic, central character, Tono (well-played by Josef Kroner) is asked by the authorities to take over a Jewish widow's haberdashery. She is old and confused and thinks that he is only looking for employment and hires him. The odd couple begin to like each other. But some time later the authorities decide that the Jews must leave the city and from lack of spine becomes a Fascist collaborator.

For the most part the film is well-made with a charming simplicity and endearing sincerity although the hasty resolution lacks the impact which one feels should have been due to such a carefully-built-up drama.




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