Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The 1965 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, The Shop on Main Street (Obch o Na Korze) stars Josef Kroner as Tono Briko, a slothful Slovakian 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 (Ida Kaminska). 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.
occupation [military], persecution, shop, woman, carpenter, Czechoslovakia, deportation, elderly, friendship, Jewish, betrayal, Nazi
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance