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The Programs

The Shop on the Main Street

  • xCzech Republic / 1965 / 125 min / Colour
  • Original Title : Obchod na Korze
  • Genre : Elmar Klos, Jan Kadar

Synopsis

The 1965 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, The Shop on Main Street stars Jozef Kroner as Tono Briko, a slothful Czechslovakian carpenter. The time is World War II, and the occupying Nazis are nationalizing all Jewish-owned businesses. To please his ambitious family, Tono takes the job of "Aryan comptroller" for a rundown button shop managed by an elderly Jewish woman. He realizes that his new job won't bring much in the way of money; the old woman, deaf as a post, realizes nothing, not even that a war is on. The shopkeeper's Jewish friends, knowing that the woman will be carted off for extermination if she doesn't have an Aryan coworker, offer to pay Tono if he'll stay on as her assistant. Kroner and the old woman form a friendship, but when the order goes out that all Jews be rounded up, he panics and prepares to turn her over to the Nazis. His last-minute change of heart unfortunately comes too late. In contrast to the tragic denouement of the film, Shop on Main Street closes on a idyllic, dreamlike sequence, showing the smiling shopkeeper and clerk walking together through the countryside, free from all danger and fear.

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