The Shop On Main Street (The Criterion Collection)
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- New digital transfer
- New & improved English subtitle translation
Top Customer Reviews
Aside from the title sequence the spoken language is all Slovak and not Czech or any other form of convoluted Czech-Slovak dialect. Considering most Czechs were expelled from Slovakia during this period, it would be inconceivable for the director to have the actors speak Czech --the domestic audience would have never tolerated that. The english subtitles, however, contain many errors and poorly translated passages which detract from fully understanding the humour, sarcasm and even some events. There is some profanity, which is also translated into more tempered english terms.
Here a two examples:
In the subtitles, Tono's friend and neighbour Piti is refered to as Piti Batchi, which should be 'baci', the Hungarian word for 'uncle', that many south eastern Slovaks use as a term of endearment and respect. In one scene Tono calls Imro Kuchar --- Kuchar baci.
The term Pan, which translates into Mr. --has a double meaning. Historically, it meant someone of nobility, a baron or a land holder. On two occasions Tono is refered to as "pan Brtko" but in a very sarcastic way. Once by Katz, the barber, while packing and later by the Hlinka Guard Luetenant Martin in the pub. I think Tono understands the ridicule, but doesn't understand why yet.
The DVD should have included some historical background, as I believe many viewers will not be familiar with the history of the region during this period. This may confuse some viewers who may not understand the many references or the regalia displayed in the film.
The movie is also a metaphor for life under Stalinism.Read more ›
The two main characters in "The Shop on Main Street" are an elderly Jewish woman, played outstandingly by Ida Kaminska, and a neer-do-well Slovakian carpenter, played impressively by Josef Kraner. The way these two come to interact with each other and the ebb and flo of their relationship is the heart of the movie. The picture gives a personal look at the Final Solution as it is played out in a small Czech village. The emotions that the director brings out on film is where the movie soars above the book.
Watching "The Shop on Main Street" is a moving experience. It challenges us and leaves us wondering where we would have fit into this cast of characters. In doing so, we may come to have a slightly better understanding of the incomprehensible. That oxymoron is worth the two hours spent watching "The Shop on Main Street". The raw emotions on display will stay with you long after.
This movie is so good that it's often difficult to watch. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking some insight into that part of history.
A must-see companion film is the more recent Czech production, "Divided We Fall" (available on DVD), which portrays the story of a couple in a Czech village who have to pretend to be collaborators in order to cover the fact that they are hiding a Jew in their apartment. Although what the main characters do is ultimately heroic, the movie is honest enough not to portray them as noble, but as frightened people who feel trapped into a terrible moral dilemma. Unlike "The Shop on High Street," "Divided We Fall" exhibits the uniquely Czech characteristic of being tragic and funny at the same time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was very well presented. I particularly cared about the actors. They made the viewer realize that they could be each of us anytime. I thought the ending was perfect.Published 4 months ago by Grace A. Lynch
An excellent and moving film about World War II in Slovakia. Touches all the issues about humanity and compassion and conflict, and is visually beautiful as well.Published 5 months ago by Margaret
Over the years I have watched this several times. The story and actors are superb. This movie is considered a classic with exposing the Nazi solution to the Jewish problem. Mrs. Read morePublished 7 months ago by A. George Hrivnak
A superb film. Kadar & Klos directed one of the most powerful movies on the Holocaust, situating their story in the domestic and the particular rather than, as in Spielberg's... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
We meet a simple Slovak carpenter names Anton Brtko known as "Tóno". When the Aryanization of the town takes place, his brother-in-law tells Tóno that he is to take... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Kytka Hilmar-Jezek
Saw this years ago n had it on VHS but found this n so glad.marvelous moviePublished 18 months ago by Andrea L. Stoddard
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