Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Shop on Main Street (1965)

Slovakia during WW2. Tono lives a poor life, but the fascist authorities offer him the chance to take over the little shop for sewing material, belonging to an old Jewish widow. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 (1+1) Oscars:

Best Foreign Language Film: Czechoslovakia (as a 1965 film) (WINNER)
Best Actress: Ida Kaminska (as a 1966 film)

I've been wanting to see this film for quite some time now and watching a black & white low budget Czechoslovakian film is definitely something different from the current wave of 2010 films I'm watching these days. The Shop on Main Street has been praised by many critics and it's regarded as one of the worthy Best Foreign Language Film winners. I found it to be interesting, but not a masterpiece.
The film is never difficult to watch, in the too slow kind of way. But even so, the first part is not as interesting / conflictual as the last 30 minutes which totally change the tone of the film. The two leading actors give some special performances and the direction is quite solid for the most of it. Even with such praising, I still feel however that the subject had lots of potential and could've been done in a better way, more intense and maybe with a better ending.
My rating for the film: 8/10. I would've went with less if it weren't for those 20-30 minutes in the second act when the film really becomes unpredictable.


  1. This is a heartbreaking movie. It's so great.

  2. I haven't seen this in ages but you make me want t catch up with it again - oddly I don't remember the last 20 minutes being such a departure so will definitely need to reappraise.