The Shop on Main Street

A carpenter in the Fascist Slovak State is appointed “Aryan controller” of a Jewish widow’s store. The first Oscar winning Czechoslovak movie.

Obchod na korze
Czechoslovakia 1965
  • English
128 min.
  • This film is available in the following territories: Czechia, Slovakia.

It’s WWII and in the recently established fascist state of Slovakia, Jews are handled in accordance with Nazi directives. One of these is the Aryanization of Jewish property, and carpenter Tono Brtko accepts the management of Mrs. Lautmanová’s shop. She’s an old widow, hard of hearing, who lives in a world of her own where she has no true appreciation for the hell that has been unleashed around her. In no time, however, Tono is softened by her gentleness and vulnerability, and he is unable to break the news that he’s actually not just her new assistant. The atmosphere of their relationship, punctuated by minor misunderstandings that often border on farce, ultimately takes on a more dramatic cast, climaxing in a tragic finale with strong moral overtones. In this light the widow becomes the prototype of the innocent victim, and Brtko – cinematically pardoned when he enacts the gravest of punishments for his failure – represents just one in an endless procession of those who, through weakness and passivity, enable the entrance of evil.

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Director: Elmar Klos, Ján Kadár
Based on: Ladislav Grosman
Screenplay: Ladislav Grosman, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos
Cinematography: Vladimír Novotný
Music: Zdeněk Liška
Sound: Dobroslav Šrámek
Editing: Jaromír Janáček
Production Design: Karel Škvor
Producer: Ladislav Hanuš, Jaroslav Prokop
Costumes: Marie Rosenfelderová, Ludmila Kaválková
Cast: Ida Kamińska, Jozef Kroner, František Zvarík, Hana Slivková, Martin Hollý st.

Academy Awards

1966 – Elmar Klos, Ján Kadár (Best Foreign Language Film)

Cannes Film Festival

1965 – Ida Kamińska, Jozef Kroner (Special Mention)

  • This film is available in the following territories: Czechia, Slovakia.